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The Marquise kneels beside him upon his priedieu 






The Complete Writings of 















The Marquise kneels beside him upon his prie- 

dieu Frontispiece 


"Do you not see that nice, well-dressed young 

man at the window ?" 204 

"Put your two hands in mine" 320 





ALEXANDER DE MEDICIS, Duke of Florence. 


,, ' [his Cousins. 



THE MARQUIS OF CIBO, his Brother. 

SIR MAURICE, Chancellor of the Eight. 





THOMAS STROZZI, > his Sons. 

LEON STROZZI, Prior of Capua, ) 

ROBERTO CORSINI, Purveyor of the Fortress. 



t Republican Noblemen. 

BINDO ALTOVITI, Uncle of Lorenzo. 

VENTURI, a Citizen. 

TEBALDEO, an Artist. 



GIOMO THE HUNGARLVN, the Duke's Equerry. 

MAFFIO, a Citizen. 

MARIE SODERINI, Mother of Lorenzo. 




Two Ladies of the court and a German Officer, a Goldsmith, a Mercer, 
two Preceptors and tiro Children, Pages, Soldiers, Monks, Courtiers, 
Exiles, Students, Servants, Citizens, etc., etc. 

The Scene is at Florence, 




(A garden. Moonlight. A summer-house in 
the background, another in the foreground. 
Enter the Duke and Lorenzo, wrapped in 
their mantles; Giomo, carrying a lantern.) 

The Duke. If she keeps us waiting another 
quarter of an hour, I shall go. It is as cold as 

Lorenzo. Be patient, my lord, be patient! 

The Duke. She was to leave her mother's at 
midnight; it is midnight now, and yet she does 
not come. 

Lorenzo. If she does not come, say that I 
am a fool, and that the old mother is a virtuous 

The Duke. Good heavens; I dare say I am 
robbed of a thousand ducats. 

Lorenzo. We advanced only half. I will an- 
swer for the girl. One is never deceived by two 
great languishing eyes like that. What is more 
interesting for a connoisseur than the seduction 
of innocence? To behold in a child of fifteen 
the courtesan of the future, to study, to sow, to 
weave the mysterious thread of vice into a 
friendly council, a caress of the chin, to say 
everything in nothing, according to the degree 
of intimacy, to gently accustom the developing 


imagination to give form to its phantoms, to 
draw near to that which affrights, to scorn that 
which protects, is easier than you think! The 
important thing is to begin rightly. And what 
a treasure this one is! All that is needful to give 
your lordship a delicious night! So much mod- 
esty! A kitten that wishes for preserves, but 
does not wish to soil its paws ! Neat as a Flemish 
maid! Middle-class mediocrity personified. In 
addition to which, daughter of honest people, 
whose slender means prevented their giving her 
a solid education; no depth to their principles, 
only a superficial polish ; but what a strong surge 
of a noble river beneath that fragile film of ice 
which cracks at every step ! Never did blooming 
bush produce fruit more rare; never did I inhale 
in childlike atmosphere a more exquisite odor of 
the courtier's art. 

The Duke. Confound it! I see no signs of 
her. I must go to the Nasi's ball, however; it 
is to-day that he marries his daughter. 

Giomo. Let us go to the pavilion, my lord; 
since it is only a question of carrying off a girl 
who is half paid for, we can surely tap upon the 

The Duke. Come along! The Hungarian is 
right. , 

( Exeunt. Enter Maffio. ) 

Maffio. It seems to me, in my dream, that 
I saw my sister cross our garden, carrying a 


dark-lantern, and covered with jewels. I awoke 
with a start. God knows that it was only an 
illusion, but an illusion too vivid to prevent sleep 
from flying before it. Thank Heaven, the win- 
dows of the pavilion where she sleeps are closed 
as usual! I see dimly the light of her lamp be- 
tween the leaves of our old fig-tree. Now my 
foolish fears are dispersing; the palpitation of 
my heart gives place to a sweet tranquillity. 
Fool that I am, my eyes are filled with tears, as 
if my poor sister had encountered some real dan- 
ger. . . . What do I hear? What is moving 
there between the branches? ( The sister of Maf- 
fid passes in the distance. ) Am I awake ? It is 
the phantom of my sister ! It is carrying a dark- 
lantern, and a necklace of brilliants is sparkling 
upon its breast, in the rays of the moonlight. 
Gabrielle! Gabrielle! Where are you going? 
(Re-enter the Duke and Giomo.) 

Giomo. That must be her simpleton of a 
brother walking in his sleep. Lorenzo will escort 
your beauty to the palace by way of the small 
gate; and as for us, what have we to fear? 

Maffio. Who are you? Hallo! Stop! 
(He draws his sword.) 

Giomo. We are your friends, clown. 

Maffio. Where is my sister? What are you 
looking for here? 

Giomo. Your sister has run away, bold rascal ! 
Open your garden gate. 


Maffio. Draw your sword and defend your- 
self, assassin that you are ! 

(Giomo springs upon him and disarms 
him. ) 

Giomo. Stop that, you big fool; not so fast! 

Maffio. Oh, shame! Oh, excess of calamity! 
If there are any laws in Florence, if justice still 
lives upon earth, by all that is good and holy 
in the world, I will throw myself at the feet of 
the Duke, and he will have you both hanged. 

Giomo. At the feet of the Duke? 

Maffio. Yes, yes, I know that scoundrels like 
you ruin families with impunity. But if I die, 
you understand, I shall not die in silence, as so 
many others have done. If the Duke does not 
know that his city is a forest full of bandits, full 
of poisoners and dishonored women, here is one 
who will tell it to him. Ah, butchery! ah, steel 
and blood! I will obtain justice of you! 

Giomo (sword in hand). Shall I stab him, 
my lord? 

The Duke. Nonsense! Stab this poor man? 
Go to bed, my friend; we will send you some 
ducats to-morrow. 
(Exit Duke.) 

Maffio. It is Alexander de Medicis! 

Giomo. Himself, my bold rascal! Do not 
boast of his visit if you value your ears. 
(JSorit Giomo.) 



(A street. Sunrise. Several masqueraders come 
out of a lighted mansion. A Mercer and a 
Goldsmith opening their shops.) 

The Mercer. Ah, ah! Father Mondella, too 
much wind for my wares. 

(He spreads out his pieces of silk.) 

The Goldsmith (yawning). This is enough 
to split a body's head. The devil take their ball! 
I did not sleep a wink all night. 

The Mercer. Neither did my wife, neighbor ; 
the poor soul twisted and turned like an eel. But, 
bless me! a body doesn't sleep at the sound of 
violins when a body is young. 

The Goldsmith. Young! young! It pleases 
you to say that. A body it not young with a 
beard like this; and, moreover, God knows their 
damned music does not give me any desire to 
dance ! 

(Two students pass.) 

First Student. Nothing is more amusing. 
We will step in near the door, among the soldiers, 
and see them come down the steps in their cos- 
tumes of all colors. Come on! This is the Nasi 
house. (He blows upon his fingers.) My port- 
folio is freezing my fingers. 

Second Student. Will they allow us to come 


First Student. By what right would they 
prevent us from doing so? We are citizens of 
Florence. Look at all those people around the 
door; look at the horses, the pages, and the 
liveries! They all go and come; it is only nec- 
essary to be slightly acquainted here. I can call 
all of the important people by name. You ob- 
serve the costumes closely, and say at the studio 
in the evening: " I am very sleepy; I spent last 
night at the ball at Prince Aldobrandini's, or at 
Count Salviati's; the Prince wore such and such 
a costume; the Princess such another," and you 
tell no lie. Come along; take hold of the back 
of my cape. 

(They place themselves near the door of the 

The Goldsmith. Did you hear those young 
idlers? I should like to have one of my ap- 
prentices play such a trick as that ! 

The Mercer. Nonsense! nonsense! Father 
Mondella, where pleasure costs nothing, youth 
has nothing to lose. The great wondering eyes 
of these young blackguards cheer up my heart. 
That is how I used to be, sniffing the air 
and seeking to know what was going on. It 
seems that the Nasi girl is a lively beauty, and 
that young Martelli is a fortunate lad. A true 
Florentine family, that ! What a figure all these 
great personages cut! I confess that such en- 
tertainments please me. You lie comfortably in 


bed, with a corner of the curtain drawn back; 
you see the lights flitting about the palace from 
time to time; you pick up a little air of dance 
music for nothing, and you say to yourself: " Ah, 
ha! those are my goods that are dancing, my 
beautiful goods of the good God, upon the 
dear backs of all those brave and loyal noble- 

The Goldsmith. There is more than one 
dancing who has not paid for what he wears, 
neighbor; those are the ones that a body would 
willingly duck into the water, or butt against 
a wall. It is quite natural that the grandees 
should amuse themselves they were born for 
that; but there are various kinds of amusement, 
you understand. 

The Mercer. Yes, yes, such as dancing, horse- 
back riding, tennis, and many more. What do 
you mean by that, Father Mondella? 

The Goldsmith. Enough said. I know what 
I mean. It is that the walls of all these palaces 
have never better proven their solidity. They 
needed less strength to protect the ancestors 
against water from the clouds, than they need to 
sustain the sons when they are far gone in 
their cups. 

The Mercer. A glass of wine is a good coun- 
selor, Father Mondella. Come into my shop 
while I show you a piece of velvet. 

The Goldsmith. Yes, a good ,counselor, and 


looks well, neighbor; a good glass of old wine 
looks well in a hand that has toiled for it; one 
tosses it off cheerfully at a single swallow, and 
it encourages the heart of an honest man who 
works for his family. But all these coxcombs at 
court are shameless sots. Whom does a man 
please when he gets beastly drunk? Nobody, not 
even himself, and still less his Creator. 

The Mercer. The carnival was rough, it must 
be confessed ; and their cursed balloon * spoiled 
fifty florins worth of merchandise for me! 
Thank God! the Strozzis paid for it. 

The Goldsmith. The Strozzis! May Heav- 
en confound those who dared to raise a hand 
against their nephew! Philippe Strozzi is the 
bravest man in Florence. 

The Mercer. That did not prevent Pierre 
Strozzi from dragging his cursed balloon across 
my shop, and making three large spots in a piece 
of embroidered velvet for me. By the way, 
Father Mondella, shall we meet at Mount Olivet? 

The Goldsmith. It is not my business to fol- 
low fairs; I shall go to Mount Olivet, however, 
as an act of piety. It is a holy pilgrimage, 
neighbor, and one that makes remission of all 

The Mercer. And one which is altogether 

* It was the custom at a carnival to drag an enormous balloon 
through the streets, which upset pedestrians and the wares displayed 
before the shops. Pierre Strozzi had been arrested for it. Note by 
the author. 


time-honored, neighbor, and merchants make 
more than on all other days of the year. It is a 
pleasure to see the good dames, as they come 
from mass, stop to handle and examine all the 
goods. God preserve his lordship! The court 
is a fine thing. 

The Goldsmith. The court! The people 
carry it upon their backs. Florence was once 
not so very long ago a good house well built; 
all the fine palaces which are the lodgings of our 
great families were its pillars. There was not 
one of all those pillars that exceeded the others 
by a hair's breadth; together they sustained an 
ancient arch, well cemented, and we walked be- 
neath it without fear of a stone falling upon our 
heads. But there are two ill-advised architects 
in the world who have ruined the structure. I 
say this to you in confidence; they are the Pope 
and the Emperor Charles. The Emperor began 
by entering the aforesaid house through a toler- 
ably large breach. After that they judged it 
proper to take one of the pillars of which I 
speak namely, that of the Medicis family and 
make of it a steeple, which steeple sprang up 
like a mushroom of misfortune in the space of 
a single night, and then, do you know, neighbor, 
as the edifice swayed to the wind, since it was 
top-heavy and minus a limb, they replaced the 
pillar which had been turned into a steeple, by 
a great formless block made of mud and spittle, 


and that they called the citadel. The Germans 
have installed themselves in that accursed hole, 
like rats in a cheese; and it is a fine thing to 
know, that while they are playing dice and drink- 
ing their sour wine, they have an eye upon the 
rest of us. The Florentine families have well 
complained, and the people and merchants have 
well said, that the Medicis govern by means of 
their garrison; they devour us as a malignant 
ulcer devours a diseased stomach. It is by virtue 
of halberdiers who promenade the ramparts, that 
a bastard, who is but half a Medicis, a blockhead 
that Heaven created for a butcher's boy or a 
plowman, corrupts our daughters, drinks our 
wine, and smashes our windows; still the people 
pay him for it. 

The Mercer. Dear me! dear me! How you 
go on! You appear to know all that by heart. 
It would not be wise to say that to every ear, 
neighbor Mondella. 

The Goldsmith. Even if they should banish 
me like so many others, one can live at Rome as 
well as here. The devil take their ball ; those who 
are dancing at it and those who give it. 

(He goes in. The Mercer mingles with the 
curious. A citizen passes with his wife.) 

The Wife. Guillaume Martelli is a handsome 
man and a rich one. Nicolo Nasi is fortunate to 
have a son-in-law like that. Bless me! the ball 
is going on yet. Look at all those lights! 


The Citizen. And how about our daughter; 
when will we marry her? 

The Wife. How everything is lighted up! 
To be dancing yet, at this time of day, it must 
be a beautiful ball ! They say the Duke is there. 

The Citizen. To turn day into night and 
night into day is a convenient method of creating 
rogues. A fine invention, indeed. Halberdiers 
at the door of a wedding ! God protect the city ! 
Something new every day, with those German 
curs, from their damned fortress. 

The Wife. Look at that pretty mask! Ah, 
what a beautiful gown! Alas! that all costs a 
great deal of money, and we are very poor at 
our house. 


A Soldier (to the Mercer). Out of the way, 
scoundrel! Let the horses pass. 

The Mercer.. Scoundrel yourself, you devil- 
ish German! 

(The soldier strikes him with his pike.) 

The Mercer (falling back). This is the way 
they follow up the capitulation! These black- 
guards abuse the citizens. 

(He goes into his shop.) 

The Student (to his comrade). Do you see 
that one who is taking off his mask? That is 
Palla Ruccellai a haughty fellow! The short 
man beside him is Thomas Strozzi Masaccio, 
as they call him. 


A Page (calling). His lordship's horse! 
Second Student. Let us be off; there comes 
the Duke. 

First Student. Are you afraid that he will 
eat you? (The crowd increases before the 
door.) That is Nicolini; and that one is the 

(The Duke comes out, dressed like a nun, 
with Julien Salviati dressed the same, 
both masked.) 

The Duke (mounting his horse). Are you 
coming, Julien? 

Salviati. No, not yet, my lord. 

(He whispers in his ear.) 
The Duke. Well, well, cheer up ! 
Salviati. She is as beautiful as a demon. 
Leave everything to me; if I can get rid of my 
wife . 

(He returns to the ball.) 
The Duke. You are drunk, Salviati; the devil 
take me, you are staggering! 

(He goes off with his suite.) 
The Student. It will soon be over, now that 
the Duke has left. 

( The masqueraders go off in all directions. ) 
Second Student. Red, green, blue my eyes 
are dazzled, my head swims. 

A Citizen. It seems that the supper lasted a 
long time; there are two who can not stand 


(The purveyor mounts his horse; a broken 

bottle falls on his shoulder.) 
The Purveyor. What the deuce! Who did 

A Masker. Ah, do you not see him, Lord 
Corsini! There! look at that window; it is Lo- 
renzo in his nun's robe. 

The Purveyor. Lorenzaccio, the devil take 
you! You have wounded my horse. (The 
window is closed.) Plague take the drunk- 
ard and his sly tricks! A blackguard who 
never smiled three times in his life, and who 
spends his time in playing the pranks of a 
schoolboy ! 

(Exit Purveyor. Louise Strozzi comes out 
of the house, accompanied by Julie n Sal- 
viati; he holds her stirrup. She mounts 
her horse; a groom and a governess fol- 
low her.) 

Salviati. A pretty leg, dear girl! You are a 
sunbeam which has penetrated to my very mar- 

Louise. That is not the language of a gen- 
tleman, my lord. 

Salviati. What eyes you have, dear heart! 
What a beautiful shoulder to dry, all moist and 
fresh! What w r ould I not give to be your wait- 
ing-maid this night ... to bare this pretty 
Louise. Let go of my foot, Salviati! 


Salviati. No, by Bacchus! Not until you 
have given me a rendezvous. 

(Louise strikes her horse and goes off at a 

gallop. ) 

A Masker (to Salviati). The fair Made- 
moiselle Strozzi is going away, as red as fire. 
You have offended her, Salviati. 

Salviati. Pshaw ! A girl's anger and a morn- 
ing shower . 

(Exit Salviati.) 


(The Marquis of Cibo's House. The Marquis, 
in traveling costume, the Marquise, Ascanio, 
Cardinal Cibo, seated.) 

The Marquis (kissing his little boy). I wish 
that I could take you, darling, you and that great 
sword which you are riding. Be a good boy; 
Massa is not very far, and I will bring you a 
nice present. 

The Marquise. Good-by, Laurent. Come 
back come back soon! 

The Cardinal. Marquise, you weep too much. 
Would not a body say that my brother was set- 
ting out for Palestine? He runs no great dan- 
ger upon his estates, I think. 

The Marquis. Speak no evil of these beauti- 
ful tears, brother. 


(He kisses his wife.) 

The Cardinal. I could only wish that virtue 
had not that appearance. 

The Marquise. Has virtue no tears, sir Car- 
dinal? Are they all for repentance and fear? 

The Marquis. No, by heavens! for the best 
of them are for love. Dry not these upon my 
cheek; the wind will do that upon the way. May 
they dry slowly! Well, my dear, have you no 
message for your favorites? Am I not to carry, 
as usual, some fine, sentimental speech, to deliver 
for you to the rocks and rills of my old patri- 

The Marquise. Ah, my poor little cascades! 

The Marquis. That is true, sweetheart; they 
are all sad without you. (He lowers his voice.) 
They used to be joyous, did they not, Ricciarda? 

The Marquise. Take me with you! 

The Marquis. I would do so were I mad, and 
I am almost, with all my warlike front. Let us 
say no more about it; it will only be for a week. 
Let my dear Ricciarda see her gardens when they 
are quiet and peaceful; the muddy feet of my 
farmers shall leave no trace in those beloved 
alleys. It is for me to count my old tree-trunks 
which remind me of your Father Alberic, and all 
the blades of grass of my woodland ; the tenants 
and their herds, all that is my affair. With the 
first flower that I shall see growing I will set 
everything aside, and then I will take you. 


The Marquise. The first flower of our beau- 
tiful lawn is always dear to me. The winter is 
so long! It always seems to me that the poor 
little things will never come again. 

Ascanio. What horse are you going to ride, 

The Marquis. Come with me to the court- 
yard and you shall see. 

(Exeunt. The Marquise remains alone 
with the Cardinal. A silence.) 

The Cardinal. Did you not ask me to hear 
your confession to-day, Marquise? 

The Marquise. Dispense me from it, Cardi- 
nal. It shall be for this evening, if your Emi- 
nence is at liberty, or to-morrow, as you please. 
I have not time just now. 

(She goes to the window and signals fare- 
well to her husband. ) 

The Cardinal. If regrets were permitted to 
a faithful servant of the Lord, I should envy 
the lot of my brother. So short a journey, so 
simple, so peaceful ! A visit to one of his estates 
which is but a few paces from here I An ab- 
sence of a week, and so much sorrow, such 
sweet sorrow, may I say, at his departure! 
Happy is he who knows how to make himself 
so beloved after seven years of marriage! Is 
is not seven years, Marquise? 

The Marquise. Yes, Cardinal; my son is six 
years old. 


The Cardinal. Were you at the wedding at 
the Nasi's last evening? 

The Marquise. Yes, I was there. 

The Cardinal. And the Duke, dressed as a 

The Marquise. Why the Duke dressed as a 

The Cardinal. I was told that he had taken 
that costume ; it may be that I was misinformed. 

The Marquise. He did take it, in fact. Ah, 
Malaspina, these are sorry times for all sacred 
things ! 

The Cardinal. A person can respect sacred 
things, and, on a day of frolic, take the costume 
of certain convents, without any hostile inten- 
tion toward the Holy Catholic Church. 

The Marquise. The example is to be feared, 
and not the intention. I do not agree with you; 
that was revolting to me. It is true that I do 
not know very well what one may or may not 
do, according to your mysterious rules. God 
knows where they lead! Those who place words 
upon an anvil and distort them with hammer and 
file do not always reflect that words represent 
thoughts, and thoughts actions. 

The Cardinal. Well, well! The Duke is 
young, Marquise, and I wager that that bewitch- 
ing nun's costume was marvelously becoming to 

The Marquise. Nothing could have been 


more so ; it lacked only a few drops of the blood 
of his cousin, Hippolyte de Medicis. 

The Cardinal. And the liberty cap, is it not 
true, dear sister? What hatred for the poor 

The Marquise. And you, his right hand, it is 
all the same to you that the Duke of Florence 
is the prefect of Charles V, the civil commis- 
sioner of the Pope, as Baccio is his religious com- 
missioner? It is all the same to you, the brother 
of my Laurent, that our sun casts German 
shadows upon the citadel, that Caesar speaks here 
in every mouth, that debauchery serves as a pro- 
curess to slavery, and shakes its bells above the 
sobs of the people ? Ah ! the clergy would ring all 
the bells at need, to drown the noise of it and 
to awaken the imperial eagle, if he were sleeping 
upon our roofs. 

(Eocit Marquise.) 

The Cardinal (alone, raises the portiere and 
calls in a low voice) . Agnolo ! (Enter a page. ) 
What is there new to-day? 

Agnolo. This letter, my lord. 

The Cardinal. Give it to me. 

Agnolo. Alas! my lord, it is a sin. 

The Cardinal. Nothing is a sin when one 
obeys a priest of the Roman Church. (Agnolo 
hands him the letter.) It is amusing to listen 
to the anger of that poor Marquise, and to see 
her running to a rendezvous with the dear tyrant, 


all bathed in republican tears. (He opens the 
letter and reads.) " Either you will be mine, or 
you will have been the means of my misfortune, 
your own, and that of our two houses." The 
Duke's style is laconic, but it does not lack force. 
Whether the Marquise will be convinced or not, 
it is difficult to tell. Two months of almost 
diligent love-making is much for Alexander; it 
ought to be enough for Ricciarda Cibo. (He 
returns the letter to the page.) Carry that to 
your mistress; you are always silent, are you not? 
Agnolo. Rely upon me. 

(He gives him his hand to kiss and goes 


(A courtyard of the ducal palace. Duke Alex- 
ander upon a terrace; pages exercising 
horses in the courtyard. Enter Valori and 
Sir Maurice.) 

The Duke. Has your Eminence received 
any news this morning from the court of Rome? 

Valori. Paul III sends a thousand blessings 
to your Lordship, and prays most earnestly for 
your prosperity. 

The Duke. Only prayers, Valori? 

Valori. His Holiness fears that the Duke 
will create new dangers for himself by too many 
indulgences. The people are not accustomed to 


absolute government, and the Emperor, at his 
last visit, said as much, I think, to your Lord- 

The Duke. That is a fine horse, Sir Maurice ! 
Ah, what a devilishly fine croup ! 

Sir Maurice. Superb, my Lord. 

The Duke. So, sir Apostolical Commis- 
sioner, there are still a few bad branches to be 
chopped off. Caesar and the Pope created me a 
king; but, by Bacchus, they have put into my 
hand a species of scepter which scents the ax 
for a league. Well, let us see, Valori, what 
is it? 

Valori. I am a priest, my Lord ; if the words 
which my duty compels me to report faithfully 
to you have been interpreted in a manner so 
severe, my heart forbids me to add one word to 

The Duke. Yes, yes, I know you for a 
valiant man. You are, by Heaven, the only hon- 
est priest that I have even seen in my life ! 

Valori. My Lord, honesty is the best policy 
under any guise ; and among men there are more 
good than bad ones. 

The Duke. And so no explanations? 

Sir Maurice. Do you wish me to speak, my 
Lord? Everything is easily explained. 

The Duke. Well, Sir Maurice. 

Sir Maurice. The licentiousness of the court 
irritates the Pope. 


The Duke. What is that you say, sir? 

Sir Maurice. I said the licentiousness of the 
court, my Lord ; the actions of the Duke have no 
other judge than himself. It is Lorenzo de 
Medicis that the Pope reclaims as a fugitive 
from his justice. 

The Duke. From his justice? He has never 
offended a pope, to. my knowledge, excepting 
Clement VII, my late cousin, who at this hour 
is in hell. 

Sir Maurice. Clement VII allowed to leave 
his domain a libertine who in a day of drunken- 
ness had mutilated the statues of the Arch of 
Constantine. Paul III can never forgive that 
titled model of Florentine debauchery. 

The Duke. Zounds! Alexander Farnese is 
a ridiculous fellow! If debauchery shocks him, 
what the devil does he do with his bastard, the 
dear Pierre Farnese, who treats the Bishop of 
Fano so prettily? That mutilation is always 
being raked up against poor Renzo. I think it 
a joke, myself, to have cut off the heads of all 
those men of stone. I protect art as well as an- 
other, and I have at my court the best artists 
in Italy, but I can not understand the regard 
of the Pope for those statues which he would 
excommunicate to-morrow if they were flesh and 

Sir Maurice. Lorenzo is an atheist; he scoffs 
at everything. If the government of your Lord- 


ship be not surrounded with a profound respect 
it can not be strong. The people call Lorenzo, 
Lorenzaccio; they know that he directs your 
pleasures, and that is enough. 

The Duke. Peace! you forget that Lorenzo 
de Medicis is cousin to Alexander. (Enter Car- 
dinal Cibo.) Cardinal, listen to these gentle- 
men, who say that the Pope is scandalized by the 
disorders of poor Renzo, and contend that they 
are weakening my government. 

The Cardinal. Chancellor Francesco Nolza 
has just delivered at the Roman Academy an 
harangue in Latin against the mutilation of the 
Arch of Constantine. 

The Duke. Nonsense you make me mad! 
Renzo, a man to fear ! The most arrant coward ! 
An effeminate man, the shadow of a nerveless 
ruffian! A dreamer who never carries a sword 
for fear of seeing its shadow at his side! In 
addition to which, a philosopher, a scribbler, a 
bad poet who can not even compose a sonnet! 
No, no; I am not yet afraid of phantoms. Ah, 
body of Bacchus! what do I care for Latin 
speeches and the quibbles of my rabble! I like 
Lorenzo, and, by the Lord ! he shall remain here. 

The Cardinal. If I were afraid of that man, 
it would not be for your court, nor for Florence, 
but for you, Duke. 

The Duke. Are you joking, Cardinal, and 
do you wish me to tell you the truth? (He 


lowers his voice.) All that I know of these 
damned exiles, of all these headstrong republi- 
cans who are plotting around me, I know 
through Lorenzo. He is as slippery as an eel; 
he forces his way everywhere and tells me every- 
thing. Did he not find means of establishing 
a correspondence with all those infernal Stroz- 
zis? Yes, certainly, he is my intermediator; but 
believe that his intervention, if it injures any 
one, will not injure me. There! (Lorenzo ap- 
pears at the back of a low balcony.) Look at 
that slender frame this day after a strolling 
orgy. Look at those heavy eyes, those skinny 
hands, scarce strong enough to wield a fan; that 
dull face, which sometimes smiles, but has not 
the force to laugh. Is that a man to fear? 
Come, come ! you are making fun of him. Hey, 
Renzo! come here; here is Sir Maurice, who is 
seeking a quarrel with you. 

Lorenzo (mounting the steps of the terrace). 
Good morning, gentlemen, friends of my cousin ! 

The Duke. Lorenzo, listen here. We have 
been talking of you for an hour. Do you know 
the news? My friend, you are excommunicated 
in Latin, and Sir Maurice calls you a dangerous 
man, the Cardinal also; as for honest Valori, he 
is too virtuous to pronounce your name. 

Lorenzo. Dangerous for whom, your Emi- 
nence for women of pleasure, or saints of 

The Cardinal. Dogs at court can be seized 
with madness like other dogs. 

Lorenzo. A priestly insult should be given 
in Latin. 

Sir Maurice. It is given in Tuscan, to which 
you can reply. 

Lorenzo. Sir Maurice, I did not see you ; ex- 
cuse me, the sun was in my eyes; but you look 
well, and your coat seems to me quite new. 

Sir Maurice. Like your wit. I had it made 
out of my grandfather's old doublet. 

Lorenzo. Cousin, when you are tired of some 
conquest of the suburbs, send her to Sir Maurice. 
It is not good for a man with a short neck and 
hairy hands, like him, to lead a life of continence. 

Sir Maurice. He who thinks he has the right 
to joke should know how to defend himself. If 
I were in your place I would draw my sword. 

Lorenzo. If anybody told you that I was a 
soldier, it was a mistake ; I am only a poor lover 
of science. 

Sir Maurice. Your wit is a keen sword, but 
flexible. It is too vile a weapon; each one makes 
use of his own. 

(He draws his sword.) 

Valori. Before the Duke, the bare sword! 

The Duke (laughing). Let them alone let 
them alone. Come, Renzo, I want to serve you 
as a second; somebody give him a sword! 

Lorenzo. My Lord, what are you saying? 


The Duke. Ah, well! Do your spirits fade 
so quickly? You tremble, cousin? For shame! 
you dishonor the name of Medicis. I am only 
a bastard, but I bear it better than you, who are 
legitimate. A sword! a sword! A Medicis does 
not allow himself to be challenged thus. Pages, 
come up here; all the court shall see it, and I 
wish that all Florence were here. 

Lorenzo. Your Lordship is laughing at me! 

The Duke. I was laughing a moment ago, 
but now I am blushing with shame. A sword! 
(He takes a sword from a page and presents 
it to Lorenzo.) 

Valori. My Lord, this is carrying the thing 
too far. A sword drawn in the presence of your 
Lordship is a crime punishable within the palace. 

The Duke. Who speaks here while I am 

Valori. Your Lordship could have had no 
other design than that of amusing yourself for 
a moment, and Sir Maurice himself was actuated 
by no other thought. 

The Duke. And you do not see that I am 
joking still! Who the devil thinks of a serious 
affair? Look at Renzo, if you please: his knees 
are trembling; he would have turned pale, if he 
could. Good heavens, what an expression! I 
believe he is going to faint. 

(Lorenzo totters; he leans upon the balus- 
trade and sinks suddenly to the ground.) 


The Duke (laughing aloud). I told you so! 
No one knows better than I; the very sight of 
a sword makes him ill. Come, dear little Lo- 
renzo, you must be taken to your mother. 
(The pages carry Lorenzo off.) 

Sir Maurice. Doubly a coward! Son of a 
harlot ! 

The Duke. Silence, Sir Maurice! Weigh 
your words, I tell you; no such speeches as that 
in my presence. 

(Exit Sir Maurice.) 

Valori. Poor young man! 

The Cardinal (alone with the Duke). Do 
you believe that, my Lord? 

The Duke. I wish I knew some reason for 
not believing it. 

The Cardinal. Hum! it is incredible. 

The Duke. That is just the reason I believe 
it. Do you imagine that a Medicis would dis- 
grace himself publicly for the pleasure of it? 
Furthermore, it is not the first time that that 
has happened to him; he never could bear the 
sight of a sword. 

The Cardinal. It is incredible! It is in- 
credible ! 




(Before the Church of Saint Miniato at Mount 
Olivet. The congregation coming out of 
the church.) 

A Woman (to her neighbor). Do you re- 
turn to Florence this evening? 

The Neighbor. I never stay here more than 
an hour, and I never come but one Friday; I 
can not afford to stay at the fair. I only come 
to make my devotions,* and if that suffices for 
my salvation, that is all that I need. 

A Lady of the Court (to another). How 
well he preached! He is my daughter's con- 
fessor. (They approach a shop.) White and 
gold, that does well enough for evening, but how 
can you keep clean in it during the day? 

(The Mercer and the Goldsmith before their 
shops with some cavaliers. ) 

The Goldsmith. The citadel! That is what 
the people will never stand, to see suddenly arise 
over the city, this new Tower of Babel, in the 
midst of the most accursed gibberish; the 
Germans will never thrive in Florence, and it 

* The people went to Mount Olivet every Friday in certain months ; 
it was to Florence what Longchamp used to be to Paris : the mer- 
chants found the conditions for a fair there, and took their goods 
there for sale. Note by the author. 


would require a vigorous hand to implant them 

The Mercer. Come in, ladies. Will your 
ladyships take a seat in my booth? 

A Cavalier. You are of old Florentine blood, 
Father Mondella; the hatred of tyranny still 
makes your wrinkled fingers tremble over the 
precious sculptures at the back of your shop. 

The Goldsmith. That is true, my Lord. If 
I were a great artist, I should like princes, be- 
cause they alone can undertake great works! 
Great artists have no country; I only make holy 
pyxes and sword-hilts. 

Another Cavalier. Apropos of an artist. Do 
you not see, in that little ale-house, that great 
big fellow gesticulating before the idlers? He 
is striking his glass upon the table. If I am 
not mistaken, it is that braggart of a Cellini. 

The First Cavalier. Let us go over there, 
then; with a glass of wine aboard, it is amusing 
to hear him, and probably he is telling some 
good yarn. 

(Exeunt. Two citizens take seats.) 

First Citizen. Has there been a riot at Flor- 

Second Citizen. Scarcely anything. A few 
poor young men were killed in the old market- 

First Citizen. What a pity for their fami- 
lies 1 


Second Citizen. These are inevitable mis- 
fortunes. What would you have the youth of 
a government like ours do? Somebody an- 
nounces with the sound of a trumpet that Caesar 
is at Bologna, and the idlers repeat, " Caesar is 
at Bologna! " and wink with an air of import- 
ance, without reflecting what they are doing. 
The next day they are happier still to learn and 
to repeat, ' The Pope is at Bologna with 
Caesar! " What follows? A public rejoicing 
they see nothing more in it; and then some fine 
morning they awaken all stupefied with the 
fumes of imperial wine, and they see a sinister 
face at the great window of the Pazzi palace. 
They demand who the personage is; they are 
told it is the King. The Pope and the Emperor 
are delivered of a bastard who has the right of 
life and death over our children, and who can 
not call his own mother by name. 

The Goldsmith (drawing near). You talk 
like a patriot, my friend. I advise you to look 
out for that lanky fellow. 

(A German officer appears.) 

The Officer. Get off of there, gentlemen; 
some ladies wish to sit down. 

(Two ladies of the court enter and take the 
seats. ) 

First Lady. Is that from Venice? 

The Mercer. Yes, your Ladyship ; shall I cut 
you a few yards of it? 


First Lady. If you please. I thought I saw 
Julien Salviati pass. 

The Officer. He promenades before the door 
of the church. He is a gallant. 

Second Lady. He is an insolent fellow! 
Show me some silk stockings. 

The Officer. There will not be any small 
enough for you. 

First Lady. Nonsense ! you must always talk. 
Since you see Julien, go and tell him that I wish 
to speak to him. 

The Officer. I will go and fetch him. 

First Lady. What a fool your officer is! 
What can you make of him? 

Second Lady. You will know that there is 
nothing better than that man. 

(They withdraw to the background. Enter 
the Prior of Capua.) 

The Prior. Give me a glass of lemonade, 
good man. 

(He sits down.) 

One of the Citizens. That is the Prior of 
Capua. There is a patriot for you! 
(The two citizens sit down again.) 

The Prior. You come from the church, 
gentlemen. What did you think of the ser- 

The Citizen. It was beautiful, M. Prior. 

Second Citizen (to the Goldsmith). The no- 


bleness of the Strozzi is dear to the people, be- 
cause it is not vain. Is it not a pleasure to see 
a fine gentleman talk freely and affably to his 
neighbors? It does one more good than you 

The Prior. To speak frankly, I found the 
sermon too fine. I have preached sometimes, 
and I have never extracted any great glory from 
the rattling of windows; but a little tear upon 
the cheek of a brave man has always been to me 
a great prize. 

(Enter Salviati.) 

Salviati. I was told that there were some 
ladies here who asked for me just now; but I 
see no gown here but yours, Prior. Am I mis- 

The Mercer. You were correctly informed, 
sir. They have gone away ; but I think that they 
will return. Here are ten yards of goods and 
four pairs of stockings for them. 

Salviati (sitting down). That is a pretty 
woman who is passing. Where the devil have 
I seen her? Ah, zounds! it was in my bed. 

The Prior (to the citizen). I think I saw 
your signature upon a letter addressed to the 

The Citizen. I proclaim it aloud; it was the 
petition offered up by the exiles. 

The Prior. Have you any in your family? 

The Citizen. Two, your excellency: my 


father and my uncle. There is no man but I 
at the house now. 

Second Citizen (to the Goldsmith). What a 
vile tongue that Salviati has! 

The Goldsmith. That is not astonishing: a 
man half -ruined, living upon the generosity of 
the Medicis, and married, as he is, to a woman 
who is dishonored everywhere! He would like 
to have people say of as many wives as possible 
what they say of his. 

Salviati. Is not that Louise Strozzi who is 
passing yonder on the hillside? 

The Mercer. 'Tis she, my Lord. Few women 
of our nobility are unknown to me. If I am 
not mistaken, that is her younger sister that she 
is leading by the hand. 

Salviati. I met that Louise last night at the 
Nasi's ball. Upon my word, she has a pretty 
leg, and she is to give me a rendezvous at the 
first opportunity. 

The Prior (turning around). What do you 
mean by that? 

Salviati. That is very plain; she told me so 
herself. I was holding her stirrup, scarcely 
thinking of malice; I do not know by what 
abstraction I seized her leg, and that is how it 
all came about. 

The Prior. Julien, I do not know whether 
you are aware that it is my sister that you are 
talking about, or not. 


Salviati. I know it very well. All women 
are made for man's pleasure, and your sister can 
well be for mine. 

The Prior (arising). Do I owe you some- 
thing, my good man? 

(He throws a piece of money on the table 
and goes out.) 

Salviati. I like that good prior very much, 
whom an insult to his sister makes forget his 
change. Would you not think that all the virtue 
in Florence was concentrated in that Strozzi 
family? See there he is turning around. 
Frown as much as you like, you will not 
frighten me. 


(A bank of the Arno. Marie Soderini f 
Catherine. ) 

Catherine. The sun is setting. Large bands 
of purple strike athwart the foliage, and the 
frog is ringing his little crystal bell beneath 
the rushes. A singular thing is this harmony 
of evening with the distant sound of that 

Marie. It is time to go in; tie your veil 
around your neck. 

Catherine. Not yet, at least if you are not 


cold. Look, my dear mother,* how beautiful 
the sky is! how vast and tranquil! How God is 
everywhere! But you lower your head; you are 
anxious since this morning. 

Marie. Not anxious, but distressed. Did you 
not hear that fatal story of Lorenzo repeated? 
He is the laughing-stock of Florence. 

Catherine. O mother! Cowardice is not a 
crime; courage is not a virtue; why is weakness 
blamable? To respond to the beatings of his 
heart is a sad privilege ; God alone can make him 
noble, and worthy of admiration. And why 
should not that child have the right that we all 
have, we women? A woman who is not afraid 
of anything is not worthy of being loved, they 

Marie. Would you love a man who is a cow- 
ard? You blush, Catherine. Lorenzo is your 
nephew; you can not love him; but imagine if 
he were called by another name, what would you 
think of him? What woman would wish to lean 
upon his arm to mount her horse? What man 
would grasp his hand? 

Catherine. That is sad, and yet it is not for 
that he is most to be pitied. His heart is perhaps 
not that of a Medicis; but, alas! it is still less 
that of an honest man. 

* Catherine Ginori is sister-in-law to Marie ; she calls her mother 
because the difference in their ages is very great. Catherine is scarcely 
more than twenty-two. Note by the author. 


Marie. Let us talk no more about it, Cath- 
erine; it is painful enough for a mother not to 
be able to talk about her son. 

Catherine. Ah, that Florence! That was his 
ruin. Have I not sometimes seen the fire of a 
noble ambition burning in his eyes ? Did not his 
youth give promise of a brilliant future? And 
often, even now, it seems to me that a sudden 
spark ... I say in spite of myself that all 
is not dead within him. 

Marie. Ah, it is all so unfathomable! Such 
a facility of conception, such a sweet love for 
solitude ! He will never be a warrior, my Renzo, 
I used to say to myself on seeing him come in 
from school, dripping with perspiration, with 
his books under his arm; and such a holy love 
of truth burned upon his lips and in his black 
eyes! He was so solicitous about everybody, 
constantly saying, " So-and-so is poor," or " So- 
and-so is ruined; what can we do for them?" 
And that admiration for the great men of his 
Plutarch! Catherine, Catherine, how often I 
used to kiss his brow in thinking of the father 
of the country ! 

Catherine. Do not grieve so, mother. 

Marie. I say that I do wish to speak of him, 
and yet I talk of him incessantly. There are 
some things, you know, that mothers never cease 
to talk about as long as they live. If my son 
had been a vulgar debauchee, if the strain of 


Soderini blood in his veins had been less strong, 
I should not despair ; but I had hopes, and I had 
reason for having them. Ah, Catherine, he is 
no longer even handsome; like a noxious vapor, 
the defilement of his heart has mounted to his 
face. The smile, that gentle expansion of coun- 
tenance which makes youth like unto flowers, has 
fled from his sallow cheeks, to leave imprinted 
there an ignoble irony and a contempt of every- 

Catherine. He is still handsome sometimes, 
with his strange melancholy. 

Marie. Did not his birth entitle him to a 
throne? Would he not have been able some day 
to take with him there the science of a doctor, 
the fairest mistress in the world, and so crown 
all my cherished dreams with a diadem of gold? 
Did I not have reason to expect that? Ah, 
Catherine, in order to sleep peacefully, one 
should not have had certain dreams. It is too 
cruel to have lived in a fairy castle, where angels' 
songs were murmuring, to have slept there, 
cradled by one's son, and then to awaken in a 
blood-stained hovel filled with the remains of 
revelry and dead men's bones, in the arms of a 
hideous specter which stabs you to the heart, in 
calling you still by the sacred name of mother! 

Catherine. The silent shadows are beginning 
to creep across the path; let us go in, Marie. I 
am afraid of all these exiles. 


Marie. Poor men! They ought only to in- 
spire pity. Ah, can I no longer see a single 
thing that does not pierce me to the heart? Must 
I never open my eyes again? Alas, my Cattina! 
this again is Lorenzo's work. All these poor 
people had confidence in him; there is not one 
among all these fathers driven from their homes 
that my son has not betrayed. Thus has he 
turned to infamous use even the glorious mem- 
ory of his ancestors. The republicans appeal to 
him as the scion of their old protector; his house 
is open to them; the Strozzis themselves come 
there. Poor Philippe! His gray hairs will go 
down in sorrow to the grave. Ah, can I not see 
a shameless girl, an unfortunate deprived of his 
family, without they cry to me, " You are the 
mother of our misfortunes! " When shall I be 

(She strikes the ground.) 

Catherine. My poor mother, your tears are 

(They depart. The sun has set. A group 
of exiles forms in the midst of the field.) 

An Exile. Where are you going? 

Another Exile. To Pisa. And you? 

The First Exile. To Rome. 

Another Exile. And I to Venice. These two 
go to Ferrara. What will become of us, so 
widely separated from each other? 

A Fourth Exile. Good-by, neighbor, until 


better times. (He starts off.) Good-by; you 
and I can go together as far as the Cross of the 

(Exit with another. Maffio arrives.) 

The First Exile. Is this you, Maffio? By 
what chance are you here? 

Maffio. I am one of you. You know the 
Duke has carried off my sister. I drew my 
sword; a species of tiger with claws of steel 
threw himself upon my neck and disarmed me; 
after that I received a purse full of ducats and 
an order to leave the city. 

The Second Exile. And where is your sister? 

Maffio. She was pointed out to me this even- 
ing coming out of the theater in a robe fit for 
an empress may God forgive her! An old 
woman accompanied her, who left three of her 
teeth at the entrance. Never in my life have I 
dealt a blow of the fist which gave me so much 
pleasure as that. 

The Third Exile. May they all burst in their 
vile debauchery, and we will die content. 

The Fourth Exile. Philippe Strozzi will 
write to us at Venice. Some day we shall all be 
surprised to find an army at our command. 

The Third Exile. Long live Philippe! As 
long as he has a hair in his head, Italian liberty 
is not dead. 

(A part of the group detach themselves; all 
of the exiles embrace.) 


A Voice. Until better times! 

Another Voice. Until better times! 

(Two exiles mount upon a platform from 
which the city can be seen.) 

First Citizen. Farewell, Florence, pest of 
Italy! Farewell, sterile mother who no longer 
has milk for her children! 

Second Citizen. Farewell, Florence, vile city, 
hideous specter of your former greatness! 

All the Exiles. Farewell, Florence! Cursed 
be the breasts of your women! Cursed be your 
sobs! Cursed be the prayers of your churches, 
the bread of your harvests, the air of your 
streets ! A curse upon the last drop of your cor- 
rupted blood! 


(At the Strozzi Palace.) 

Philippe (in his study). Ten citizens ban- 
ished from this neighborhood alone! Old Ga- 
leazzo and young Maffio banished ; his sister cor- 
rupted, become a prostitute in a single night! 
Poor girl ! When will the education of the lower 
classes be such as to prevent young girls from 
laughing while their parents weep? Is corrup- 


tion a law of nature? Is that which women call 
virtue but a Sunday frock which they put on to 
go to mass? The rest of the week they are at 
the window, and, as they knit, they watch the 
young men pass. Poor humanity! What name 
do you bear? That of birth, or that of baptism? 
And the rest of us old dreamers, what original 
spot have we washed out of the human face dur- 
ing the four or five thousand years that we have 
been mellowing with our books? How easy it is 
for you, in the stillness of your study, to trace, 
with a light hand, a line as clear and slender as 
a hair upon that white paper! How easy it is 
to build palaces and cities with that small com- 
pass and a little ink! But the architect who has 
thousands of admirable plans in his desk can not 
raise from the ground the first stone of his edi- 
fice, when he comes to set himself to the task 
with bent back and fixed determination. That 
the happiness of men is but a dream, that indeed 
is hard; that evil is irrevocable, eternal, impos- 
sible to change, no! Why does the philosopher 
who w r orks for all things look about him? That 
is the mischief. The least speck which passes 
before his eyes blinds him to the light. Let us 
proceed more boldly. The Republic we need 
that word. And although it be but a word, it is 
something, since the people are aroused when 
they hear it ... Ah, good morning, Leon! 
(Enter the Prior of Capua.) 


The Prior. I have just come from the fair 
at Mount Olivet. 

Philippe. Was it fine? Here is Pierre also. 
Sit down; I want to talk to you. 

The Prior. It was very fine, and I had a 
rather pleasant time, excepting a little annoy- 
ance which still disturbs me. 

Pierre. Bah! what is it? 

The Prior. Imagine that I had gone into a 
shop to take a glass of lemonade . . . But 
no; what's the use? I'm a fool to think about it. 

Philippe. What the devil have you on your 
heart? You talk like a woman in distress. 

The Prior. It is no matter; an insult, nothing 
more. There is no importance to attach to it. 

Pierre. An insult? To whom? To yourself? 

The Prior. No, not exactly to myself. Little 
would I care for an insult to myself. 

Pierre. To whom, then? Come, speak, if 
you can. 

The Prior. I am wrong; a man does not re- 
member such things as that when he knows the 
difference between a gentleman and a Salviati. 

Pierre. Salviati? What did that villain say? 

The Prior. He is a villain you are right 
no matter what he said! A shameless man, a 
court lackey, who, according to all accounts, has 
a wife who is a most dissolute woman! Bah! 
The thing is past, I will think no more about it. 

Pierre. Think about it and speak about it, 


Leon. I long to take him by the ears. Whom 
did he slander? Us? Our father? Ah, blood 
of Christ! I do not waste any love upon that 
Salviati. I must know what he said, do you 
understand ? 

The Prior. If you insist, I will tell you. He 
expressed himself before me, in a shop, in a truly 
offensive manner on the score of our sister. 

Pierre. Oh, my God! In what terms? 
Come, speak! 

The Prior. In the grossest terms. 

Pierre. Devil of a priest that you are! You 
see me beside myself with impatience, and you 
are choosing your words! Tell things as they 
are. Zounds! One word is as good as another; 
it is not to the good God that it pertains. 

Philippe. Pierre, Pierre! You are wanting 
in respect toward your brother. 

The Prior. He said that he was to have a 
rendezvous with her that was his word and 
that she had promised it to him. 

Pierre. That she had prom . . . Ah, death 
of death, of a thousand deaths! What time 
is it? 

Philippe. Where are you going? See here; 
you are too hot-headed. What are you going to 
do with that sword? You have one at your side. 

Pierre. I am not going to do anything with 
it. Let us go to dinner; dinner is ready. 



(The front of a church. Enter Lorenzo and 

Valori. What is the reason that the Duke 
does not come? Ah, sir, what a satisfaction to 
a Christian is this magnificent pomp of the Ro- 
man Church! What man can be insensible to 
it? Should not an artist find there the Paradise 
of his heart? The warrior, the priest, and the 
merchant, do they not meet there all that they 
love! That admirable harmony of music, those 
splendid hangings of velvet and needlework, 
those paintings by great masters, the perfumes, 
warm and sweet, of swinging censers, and the 
delightful songs of silvery voices, all that may 
shock by its worldly aspect the ascetic and aus- 
tere monk; but nothing is more beautiful, to my 
mind, than a religion which appeals to the heart 
by such means as that. Why should priests wish 
to serve a jealous God? Religion is not a bird 
of prey; it is a compassionate dove, which soars 
peacefully over all dreams and all loves. 

Lorenzo. Doubtless, what you say is per- 
fectly true, and perfectly false, like all things in 
this world. 

Tebaldeo Freccia (approaching Valori) . Ah, 


my Lord, how sweet it is to hear a man like your 
Eminence speak thus of tolerance and religious 
enthusiasm! Pardon a humble citizen, who is 
burning with divine fire, for thanking you for 
the words which he has just heard. To hear 
from the lips of a good man what one has in his 
own heart is the greatest happiness which one 
can desire. 

Valori. You are young Freccia, are you not? 

Tcbaldeo. My works have little merit; I 
know better how to love art than I know how to 
practise it. My entire youth has been spent in 
the churches. It seems to me that I can not ad- 
mire Raphael and our divine Buonarotti any- 
where else. So I spend whole days before their 
works, in unspeakable ecstasy. The strains of 
the organ reveal to me their thoughts and give 
me an insight into their minds. I look at the 
people in their paintings, so reverently kneeling, 
and I imagine that the songs of the choir ema- 
nate from their parted lips; that the clouds of 
aromatic incense pass between them and me in 
a light vapor. I believe that I see there the glory 
of the artist; it is therefore a sad and sweet per- 
fume, which would be but empty did it not 
mount up to God. 

Valori. You have the true heart of an artist. 
Come to my palace, and bring your palette and 
brushes with you when you come. I would like 
to have you do some work for me. 


Tebaldeo. Your Eminence pays me too much 
honor. I am but a humble curate of the holy 
religion of painting. 

Lorenzo. Why do you decline our offers of 
service? It seems to me that you have a frame 
in your hands. 

Tebaldeo. It is true; but I dare not show it 
to such critical judges. It is a poor sketch of a 
magnificent dream. 

Lorenzo. You paint pictures of your dreams ? 
I will have some of mine pose for you. 

Tebaldeo. The life of an artist is devoted to 
the realization of his dreams. The greatest have 
represented theirs in all their force, with noth- 
ing changed. Their imagination was a fertile 
tree; the buds were easily transformed into flow- 
ers, and the flowers into fruit; presently the 
fruit ripened under a kindly sun, and when they 
were ripe they detached themselves and fell to 
earth without losing a particle of their virginal 
bloom. Alas ! the dreams of mediocre artists are 
plants difficult to nourish, which one waters with 
very bitter tears to make them thrive at all. 
(He snows his picture.) 

Valori. Without flattery, that is beautiful: 
not of the first merit, it is true. Why should I 
flatter a man who does not flatter himself? But 
your wings have not sprouted yet, young man. 

Lorenzo. Is it a landscape, or a portrait? 
Should it be viewed lengthwise, or crosswise? 


Tebaldeo. Your Lordship is laughing at me. 
It is a view of the Campo-Santo. 

Lorenzo. How far is it from here to immor- 

Valorl. It is wrong of you to tease that child. 
See how his great eyes grow more sad at each 
one of your jests. 

Tebaldeo. Immortality is faith. Those to 
whom God has given wings arrive there joy- 

Valori. You talk like a pupil of Raphael. 

Tebaldeo. My Lord, he was my master. 
What I have learned I owe to him. 

Lorenzo. Come to my house. I want you to 
paint me a nude of La Mazzafirra. 

Tebaldeo. I do not respect my brush, but I 
respect my art. I can not paint the portrait of 
a courtesan. 

Lorenzo. God took pains to make her; you 
might take enough to paint her picture. Would 
you like to paint a picture of Florence for 

Tebaldeo. Yes, my Lord. 

Lorenzo. From what point would you do it? 

Tebaldeo. From the east side of the city, on 
the left bank of the Arno. It is from that 
point that the perspective is broadest and most 

Lorenzo. You would paint Florence, the 
squares, the buildings, and the streets? 


Tebaldeo. Yes, my Lord. 

Lorenzo. Now why would you not paint a 
courtesan, if you would paint a bad place? 

Tebaldeo. I have not yet been taught to 
speak thus of my mother. 

Lorenzo. Who do you call your mother? 

Tebaldeo. Florence, my Lord. 

Lorenzo. Then you are a bastard, for your 
mother is nothing but a harlot. 

Tebaldeo. A bleeding wound may breed cor- 
ruption in the healthiest body; but the precious 
drops of my mother's blood flow from a sweet- 
smelling plant which heals all ills. Art, that 
divine flower, has sometimes need of a fertilizer 
to enrich the soil that bears it. 

Lorenzo. What do you mean by that? 

Tebaldeo. Peaceful and happy nations have 
sometimes burned with a clear but feeble light. 
There are several strings to an angel's harp; a 
gentle zeyphr may play across the weakest ones, 
and draw from their accord a sweet and delicious 
harmony; but the silver string responds only to 
the passage of the north wind. It is the most 
beautiful and the noblest; and yet the touch of 
a rude hand is favorable to it. Enthusiasm goes 
hand in hand with suffering. 

Lorenzo. That is to say that an unhappy 
people begets great artists. I would like to be 
the alchemist of your alembic; the tears of the 
people would there be distilled into pearls. By 


the death of Satan! you please me. Families 
may mourn, nations die of misery, all that for 
the amusement of kings! An admirable poet! 
How do you reconcile all that with your 
religion ? 

Tebaldeo. I do not make sport of the unhap- 
piness of families. I say that poesy is the mild- 
est form of suffering, and that she loves her 
sisters. I pity unhappy people; but I believe, 
indeed, that they create great artists. Battle- 
fields cause harvests to grow; corrupt worlds 
beget celestial fruit. 

Lorenzo. Your doublet is worn; would you 
like one like my livery? 

Tebaldeo. I belong to no one. When 
thought wishes to be free, the body must be 
so too. 

Lorenzo. I have a mind to order my footman 
to give you a good beating. 

Tebaldeo. Why, my Lord? 

Lorenzo. Because it strikes my fancy. Are 
you lame by birth, or by accident? 

Tebaldeo. I am not lame. What do you 
mean by that? 

Lorenzo. You are either lame or else you are 
a fool. 

Tebaldeo. Why, my Lord? You are mak- 
ing sport of me. 

Lorenzo. If you were not crippled, why 
would you remain, unless you are a fool, in a city 


where, by virtue of your ideas of liberty, the 
first valet of a Medicis could kill you without 
anybody finding any fault with it? 

Tebaldeo. I love my mother Florence; that 
is why I stay here. I know that a citizen may 
be assassinated in the open street in broad day- 
light, according to the caprice of those who gov- 
ern her; that is the reason that I carry this stiletto 
at my belt. 

Lorenzo. Would you stab the Duke, if the 
Duke were to stab you, as it has often hap- 
pened that he has committed facetious murders 
for his own amusement? 

Tebaldeo. I should kill him if he were to at- 
tack me. 

Lorenzo. You say that to me! 

Tebaldeo. What would anybody want of 
me? I injure nobody. I spend my days at the 
studio. On Sunday I go to the Annonciade or 
to Sainte-Marie ; the monks find that I have a 
voice; they dress me in a white robe and a red 
cap, and I take part in the choruses, sometimes 
a little solo: these are the only times that I ap- 
pear in public. In the evening I go to see my 
mistress, and when the night is fine I pass it 
upon her balcony. Nobody knows me, and I 
know nobody. To whom would my life or my 
death be of use? 

Lorenzo. Are you a republican? Do you 
love princes? 


Tebaldeo. I am an artist; I love my mother 
and my mistress. 

Lorenzo. Come to my palace to-morrow. I 
wish to order an important picture from you for 
my wedding-day. 

(House of the Marquise of Cibo.) 

The Cardinal (alone). Yes, I will obey your 
orders, Farnese ! * That your apostolic commis- 
sioner may confine himself to the narrow circle 
of his office, I will shake with a firm hand the 
slippery ground upon which he does not dare 
to walk. You may depend upon me for that. 
I understand you, and I shall act secretly as you 
have commanded. You divined who I was when 
you placed me near to Alexander without in- 
vesting me with any title which gave me any 
power over him. It is of another that he will 
rid himself, by obeying me unwittingly. That 
he may spend his force against the shadows of 
men swollen with the semblance of power, I 
will be the invisible link which will bind him hand 
and foot to the chain of which Rome and Caesar 
hold the two ends. If my eyes do not deceive 

* Pope Paul III. Note by the Author. 


me, there is in this house the hammer which will 
serve me. Alexander is in love with my sister- 
in-law; that she is flattered by that love is credi- 
ble ; what the result may be is doubtful ; but what 
she means to do about it, that is what concerns 
me. Who knows how far the influence of an 
exalted woman might go, even with that coarse 
man, that living armor? Such a little sin for 
such a good cause; it is tempting, is it not, Ric- 
ciarda? To press that lion heart to your weak 
heart all pierced with bloody arrows, like that 
of Saint Sebastian; to plead with weeping eyes, 
while the adored tyrant passes his rude hands 
through your flowing locks; to strike the divine 
spark from a rock ; surely that is worth the small 
sacrifice of matrimonial honor, and of a few 
other trifles. Florence would gain so much by 
it, while these good husbands lose nothing! But 
you should not take me for a confessor. Here 
she comes now, her prayer-book in her hand. So 
to-day all will be elucidated ; simply whisper your 
secret into the ear of the priest: the courtier will 
be able to profit thereby; but, in all conscience, 
he will say nothing about it. 

(Enter the Marquise of Cibo.) 

The Cardinal (seating himself). I am ready. 
(The Marquise kneels beside him upon her 
prie-dieu. ) 

The Marquise. Bless me, my father, because 
I have sinned. 


The Cardinal. Have you said your Confiteor? 
We can begin, Marquise. 

The Marquise. I accuse myself of fits of 
anger, of irreligious and injurious doubts against 
our Holy Father, the Pope. 

The Cardinal. Go on. 

The Marquise. I said yesterday, in public, 
apropos of the Bishop of Fano, that the Holy 
Catholic Church was a place of debauchery. 

The Cardinal. Go on. 

The Marquise. I have listened to conversa- 
tions contrary to my marriage vows. 

The Cardinal. Who held these conversations 
with you? 

The Marquise. I have read a letter written 
with the same thought. 

The Cardinal. Who wrote you that letter? 

The Marquise. I am confessing what I have 
done, and not what others have done. 

The Cardinal. My daughter, you must an- 
swer me, if you wish me to be able to give you 
perfect absolution. In the first place, tell me 
if you answered that letter. 

The Marquise. I answered it by word of 
mouth, but not in writing. 

The Cardinal. What did you reply? 

The Marquise. I granted the person who 
wrote it permission to see me, as he requested. 

The Cardinal. What took place at that inter- 


The Marquise. I blamed myself for having 
already listened to conversations prejudicial to 
my honor. 

The Cardinal. How did you make that self- 

The Marquise. As a self-respecting woman 

The Cardinal. Did you not allow it to be 
seen that a person might end in persuading you? 

The Marquise. No, Father. 

The Cardinal. Did you announce to the per- 
son in question a determination to listen to no 
such conversations in future? 

The Marquise. Yes, Father. 

The Cardinal. Does this person please you? 

The Marquise. My heart is not involved, I 

The Cardinal. Have you informed your hus- 

The Marquise. No, Father. A virtuous 
woman ought not to disturb her household with 
such stories as that. 

The Cardinal. Are you hiding nothing from 
me? Did nothing pass between you and the 
person in question, which you hesitate to con- 
fide to me? 

The Marquise. Nothing, Father. 

The Cardinal. Not a tender look, a stealthy 

The Marquise. No, Father. 


The Cardinal. Are you sure, my daughter? 

The Marquise. Brother-in-law, it seems to 
me that I have not the habit of lying before God. 

The Cardinal. You refused to tell me the 
name which I asked of you just now; I can not 
give you absolution, however, without know- 
ing it. 

The Marquise. Why so? It may be a sin 
to read a letter, but not a signature. What mat- 
ters the name? 

The Cardinal. It matters more than you 

The Marquise. Malaspina, you want to know 
too much. Refuse me absolution, if you wish; I 
will take for a confessor the first priest who 
comes along, who will give it to me. 
(She arises.) 

The Cardinal. What violence, Marquise! 
Do I not know that it is of the Duke that you 
are speaking? 

The Marquise. Of the Duke! Very well; if 
you know it, why do you wish to make me say it? 

The Cardinal. Why do you refuse to say it 
to me? That astonishes me. 

The Marquise. And what do you want to do 
with it, my confessor? Is it to repeat it to my 
husband that you insist so strongly upon hear- 
ing it? Yes, this is very certain. It is wrong 
to have one of your relatives for a confessor. 
Heaven is my witness that in kneeling before 


you I forget that I am your sister-in-law; but 
you take pains to remind me of it. Be careful, 
Cibo, be careful for your eternal salvation, Car- 
dinal though you are. 

The Cardinal. Come back, Marquise; it is 
not as bad as you think. 

The Marquise. What do you mean? 

The Cardinal. That a confessor ought to 
know everything, because he can manage every- 
thing, and that a brother-in-law ought to say 
nothing on certain conditions. 

The Marquise. What conditions? 

The Cardinal. No, no, I am mistaken; that 
was not the word I meant to use. I meant that 
the Duke is powerful, that a rupture with him 
might injure the richest families; but that a se- 
cret of importance in experienced hands might 
become a source of abundant benefits. 

The Marquise. A source of benefits ! . . . 
Experienced hands! I do not understand. 
What are you hiding, Cardinal, beneath those am- 
biguous words? There are certain phrases which 
sometimes pass the lips of you priests; a person 
does not know what to think of them. 

The Cardinal. Come back and sit down, Ric- 
ciarda. I have not yet given you absolution. 

The Marquise. Talk away; I am not sure 
that I wish you to. 

The Cardinal (rising). You had better be 
careful, Marquise. When a person braves me 


to my face, he should have a solid and a flawless 
armor. I do not wish to threaten you; I have 
but one word to say to you: take another con- 


The Marquise (alone). That is unheard-of! 
To go away with clenched fists and his eyes blaz- 
ing with anger! To talk of experienced hands, 
of the direction to give to certain things! But 
what is the matter? That he might wish to pene- 
trate my secret to inform my husband of it, I 
can readily understand ; but if that is not his aim, 
what does he want to make of me? The Duke's 
mistress? To know everything and to manage 
everything did he say? That is impossible; there 
is some darker and more inexplicable mystery at 
the bottom of it. Cibo would never do a thing 
like that. No, I am sure of it; I know him 
too well. That would suit Lorenzaccio. But he 
. he must have had some secret meaning, 
greater and deeper than that. Ah, how men 
reveal themselves suddenly, after ten years of 
silence! It is frightful! Now, what shall I do? 
Do I love Alexander? No, surely I do not love 
him; I said so in my confession, and I told the 
truth. Why is Laurent at Massa? Why does 
the Duke urge me? Why did I say that I did 
not wish to see him again? Why? Ah, why is 
there in it all a magnet, an inexplicable charm 
which attracts me? (She opens her window.) 


How beautiful you are, Florence, but how sad! 
There is more than one house down there that 
Alexander has entered clandestinely by night. 
He is a libertine, I know. And why do you 
mingle with all this, Florence? Whom do I 
love? Is it you, or he? 

Agnolo (entering). Madame, his Highness 
has entered the courtyard. 

The Marquise. This is strange! Malaspina 
has quite unnerved me. 


(At the Soderini palace. Marie Soderini, Cathe- 
rine, Lorenzo, seated.) 

Catherine (a book in her hand). What story 
shall I read you, mother? 

Marie. My Cattina is making fun of her 
poor old mother. What do I know about your 
Latin books? 

Catherine. This is not a Latin book, but it 
is a translation of one. It is the History of 

Lorenzo. I am very strong in Roman history. 
There was once a young nobleman named Tar- 
quinius the Proud. 

Catherine. Ah, that is a bloody story. 

Lorenzo. Not at all; it is a fairy story. 


Brutus was nothing but a fool, a monomaniac. 
Tarquinius was a duke full of wisdom, who went 
in slippered feet to see if young girls were asleep. 

Catherine. Do you also speak idly of Lu- 
cretia ? 

Lorenzo. She gave herself the pleasure of 
sin, and the glory of death. She allowed herself 
to be taken alive like lark in a snare, and then 
she very gracefully plunged a dagger into her 

Marie. If you despise women, why do you 
seek to lower them in the eyes of your mother 
and sister? 

Lorenzo. I esteem you and her. Aside from 
that, society inspires me with horror. 

Marie. Do you know the dream I had last 
night, my child? 

Lorenzo. What dream? 

Marie. It was not a dream, for I was not 
asleep. I was alone in this great room; the lamp 
was far from me, upon that table by the window. 
I was thinking of the days when I used to be 
happy, of the days of your childhood, my Lor- 
enzino. I observed the dark night, and I said 
to myself: He will not return until morning, 
he who used to spend his nights in study. My 
eyes filled with tears, and I shook my head as 
I felt them flowing. Suddenly I heard footsteps 
in the corridor. I turned around; a man clad in 
black, with a book under his arm, was coming 


toward me : it was you, Renzo. ' You are back 
early!" I exclaimed. But the specter seated it- 
self beside the lamp without replying; it opened 
its book, and I recognized my Lorenzo of olden 

Lorenzo. You saw it? 

Marie. As plainly as I see you. 

Lorenzo. When did it go away? 

Marie. When you rang the bell this morning 
as you came in. 

Lorenzo. My specter! And it went away 
when I returned? 

Marie. It arose with a melancholy air, and 
vanished like a morning vapor. 

Lorenzo. Catherine, Catherine, read me the 
story of Brutus. 

Catherine. What is the matter with you? 
You are trembling from head to foot. 

Lorenzo. Mother, take a seat this evening in 
the same place where you were last night, and 
if my specter returns, say to it that it will see 
something by and by that will astonish it. 
(Somebody knocks.) 

Catherine. It is Uncle Bindo and Baptista 

(Bindo and Venturi enter.) 

Marie. We will leave you; God grant that 
you may succeed! 

(Exit with Catherine.) 

Bindo. Lorenzo, why do you not deny that 


scandalous story that people are telling about 

Lorenzo. What story? 

Bindo. They say that you fainted at the 
sight of a sword. 

Lorenzo. Do you believe them, uncle? 

Bindo. I saw you fence at Rome; but it 
would not surprise me if you were to become viler 
than a dog, with the life you are leading here. 

Lorenzo. The story is true. I did faint 
away. Good morning, Venturi. What is the 
price of goods ? How is business ? 

Venturi. My Lord, I am at the head of a 
silk factory ; but it is an insult to call me a trades- 

Lorenzo. True, I only meant that you had 
contracted at college the innocent habit of sell- 
ing silk. 

Bindo. I have confided to Signor Venturi the 
plans which are occupying so many families in 
Florence at this time. He is a worthy friend 
of liberty, and I mean, Lorenzo, that you shall 
treat him as such. The time to joke is past. 
You have sometimes said to us that that extreme 
confidence which the Duke shows toward you 
was only a snare on your part. Is that true, 
or false? Are you on our side, or are you not? 
That is what we must know. All the great 
families see plainly that the despotism of the 
Medicis is neither just nor tolerable. "By what 


right should we allow that proud house to arise 
peacefully over the ruins of our privileges? The 
capitulation is violated. The power of Germany 
makes itself felt more absolutely from day to 
day. It is time to put an end to it and to re- 
assemble the patriots. Will you respond to that 

Lorenzo. What have you to say about it, 
Venturi? Speak, speak; see, my uncle is recov- 
ering his breath; seize this opportunity, if you 
love your country. 

Venturi. My Lord, I think the same, and I 
have not a word to add. 

Lorenzo. Not a word? Not one pretty, lit- 
tle, sonorous word? You are familiar with 
true eloquence. You can turn a great sentence 
around one pretty little word, neither too short 
nor too long, and as round as a top; you throw 
back your left arm in a manner to impart dig nity 
and grace to the folds of your mantle; you let 
loose your sentence, which unwinds like a vibrant 
string, and the little top is off with a delicious 
hum. You could almost pick it up in the palm 
of your hand, as children in the street do. 

Bindo. You are an insolent fellow! Either 
reply to our questions, or leave the room. 

Lorenzo. I am one w r ith you, uncle. Do you 
not see, by the manner in which I wear my hair, 
that I am a republican at heart? Look how my 
beard is trimmed. Doubt not for a moment that 


patriotism breathes through the innermost re- 
cesses of my being. 

(The door-bell rings; the courtyard fills 
with horses and pages.) 

A Page (entering). The Duke. 
(Enter Alexander.) 

Lorenzo. What an excess of favor, Prince! 
You deign to visit a humble servant in person? 

The Duke. Who are these men? I want to 
speak with you. 

Lorenzo. I have the honor of presenting to 
your Lordship my uncle, Signer Bindo Altoviti, 
who regrets that a long sojourn at Naples has 
prevented him from paying his respects to you 
before. This other gentleman is the distinguished 
Signor Baptista Venturi, who manufactures silk, 
it is true, but does not sell it. Do not let the 
unexpected presence of so great a Prince in this 
humble house disturb you, my dear uncle, nor you 
either, my worthy Venturi. Whatever you ask 
for will be granted, Or you will have the right to 
say that my supplications have no influence with 
my gracious Sovereign. 

The Duke. What do you want, Bindo? 

Bindo. My Lord, I am very sorry that my 
nephew . 

Lorenzo. The title of Ambassador to Rome 
belongs to nobody just now. My uncle hopes to 
obtain it through your kindness. There is not 
in all Florence a man who could bear compari- 


son with him, when it is a question of the devo- 
tion and respect due to the Medicis. 

The Duke. Indeed, Renzino? Very well! 
my dear Bindo, that is settled. Come to the 
palace to-morrow morning. 

Bindo. My Lord, I am overwhelmed! How 
to repay you . . . 

Lorenzo. Signer Venturi, although he doesn't 
sell silk, asks a privilege for his factories. 

The Duke. What privilege? 

Lorenzo. Your arms upon the door, with the 
license. Grant it to him, my Lord, if you love 
those that love you. 

The Duke. All right. Is that all? Go, gen- 
tlemen; and peace go with you. 

Venturi. My Lord . . . you overwhelm 
me with joy . . .1 can't express . 

The Duke (to his guards). Allow these two 
people to pass. 

Bindo (aside to Venturi as they go off) . That 
was a scurvy trick. 

Venturi (aside). What are you going to 
do about it? 

Bindo (aside). What the deuce would you 
have me do? I am appointed. 

Venturi (aside) . It is terrible ! 

The Duke. The Marquise has yielded. 

Lorenzo. I am sorry. 

The Duke. Why? 


Lorenzo. Because that will be prejudicial to 

The Duke. In faith, no; I am tired of her 
already. Tell me, my dear boy, who is that 
pretty woman who is tending her flowers at that 
window? For a long time I have seen her every 
time I pass. 

Lorenzo. Where? 

The Duke. In the palace across the street. 

Lorenzo. Oh! that's nothing. 

The Duke. Nothing? Do you call those 
arms nothing? My word, what a Venus ! 

Lorenzo. She is a neighbor of mine. 

The Duke. I wish to speak to that neighbor. 
Ah, zounds! it is Catharine Ginori, if I am not 

Lorenzo. No. 

The Duke. I recognize her very well; she is 
your aunt. Pest! I had forgotten that fact. 
Bring her to supper. 

Lorenzo. That is easier said than done. She 
is a virtuous girl. 

The Duke. Go on! Is there such a thing 
with us? 

Lorenzo. I will ask her, if you wish; but I 
warn you that she is a blue-stocking; she speaks 

The Duke. All right! She does not make 
love in Latin. Come this way; we can see her 
better from this gallery. 


Lorenzo. Some other time, your Highness. 
I must go to Strozzi's, and I have no time to lose. 

The Duke. What! to that old fool? 

Lorenzo. Yes, to that old wretch's. It seems 
that he can not cure himself of that strange whim 
for opening his purse to all these vile creatures 
called exiles, and that the beggars assemble at 
his door every day, before putting on their shoes 
and taking up their cudgels. My plan now is 
to hasten to dine with this old jail-bird, and re- 
new the assurance of my cordial friendship. I 
shall have some good story to tell you this even- 
ing, some delightful little prank which will make 
some of those rascals rise early to-morrow 

The Duke. How fortunate it is that I have 
you, my dear boy! I confess that I do not un- 
derstand why they receive you. 

Lorenzo. Nonsense! If you only knew how 
easy it is to draw the wool over the eyes of a 
blockhead ! It must be that you have never tried. 
By the way, did you not tell me that you wished 
to give your portrait I forget to whom? I 
have a painter to bring to you, a protege of 

The Duke. Very well; but do not forget 
your aunt. It was on her account that I came 
to see you. The devil take me! I can not forget 
your aunt. 

Lorenzo. And the Marquise? 


The Duke. Talk to me of your aunt, I tell 



(A room at the Strozzi Palace. Philippe Strozzi. 
The Prior, Louise occupied with some nee- 
dlework; Lorenzo, lying upon a sofa.) 

Philippe. God grant that nothing come of 
it. How many inextinguishable, implacable ha- 
treds have not begun otherwise! An insulting 
speech, the fumes of a revel upon the maudlin 
lips of some debauchee ! That is the way family 
feuds begin, that is the way daggers are drawn. 
Somebody is insulted, and he kills; somebody 
kills, and he gets killed in turn. By and by the 
hatred takes deep root; sons are cradled in the 
coffins of their ancestors, and whole generations 
spring up with sword in hand. . 

The Prior. Perhaps it was wrong of me to 
remember that vile speech and this accursed jour- 
ney to Mount Olivet ; but how can a body stand 
these Salviatis? 

Philippe. Ah, Leon, Leon! I ask you, what 
difference would it have made with Louise and 
ourselves even if you had said nothing to my 
children? Can not the virtue of a Strozzi forget 
the idle word of a Salviati? Should the inhabi- 


tants of a marble palace know the obscenities that 
the populace write upon their walls? What mat- 
ters the speech of a Julien? Will my daughter 
be less able to find a worthy husband because of 
it? Will her children respect her less? Shall 
I remember it as I kiss her good night? What 
are we coming to, if the insolence of a nobody 
unsheathes swords like ours? Now the fat is in 
the fire; there is Pierre furious at what you told 
us. He has taken the field; he has gone to the 
Pazzis. God knows what will happen! If he 
should meet Salviati, blood will be spilled; my 
blood upon the stones of Florence ! Ah, why am 
I a father! 

The Prior. If somebody had reported to me 
an insult about my sister, whatever it was, I 
should have given him the cold shoulder, and all 
would have ended there; but this one was ad- 
dressed to me ; it was so gross that I imagined the 
boor did not know of whom he was speaking; 
but he knew very well. 

Philippe. Yes, they know, base wretches! 
They know very well where they strike! The 
trunk of an old tree is of too hard a fiber; they 
will not touch that. But they know the delicate 
fiber which trembles in its heart when they attack 
its weakest branch. My Louise! Ah, what was 
the motive? My hands tremble at that idea! 
Just God, is the reason for that, old age? 

The Prior. Pierre is too hot-headed. 


Philippe. Poor Pierre! how the blood 
mounted to his brow! How he shook, in listen- 
ing to the account of the insult paid to his sister! 
I was a fool for allowing you to tell it. Pierre 
walked the floor with great strides, restless, furi- 
ous, beside himself; he walked to and fro as I 
am doing now. I looked at him in silence: it is 
such a fine sight to see the pure blood mounting 
to a blameless brow! I thought, " O my coun- 
try! there is one, and he is my first-born." Ah, 
Leon, it is of no use, I am a Strozzi. 

The Prior. Perhaps there is not as much dan- 
ger as you think. It is a great chance if he meets 
Salviati this evening. To-morrow he will see 
everything more soberly. 

Philippe. Have no doubt of it; Pierre will 
either kill him or perish in the attempt. (He 
opens the window.) Where are they now? It 
is night; the city is wrapped in darkness; those 
somber streets inspire me with horror; blood is 
flowing somewhere; I am sure of it. 

The Prior. Calm yourself. 

Philippe. By the manner in which Pierre 
went away I am sure that he will only return 
revenged or dead. I saw him take down his 
sword with a look of determination on his face. 
He was biting his lips, and the muscles of his 
arms were like whip-cords. Yes, yes, by this 
time he is either dead or avenged; there is no 
doubt about it, 


The Prior. Reassure yourself; close that 

Philippe. Well, Florence, teach thus to thy 
pavements the color of my noble blood. It flows 
in the veins of forty of your sons. And I, the 
head of this great family, more than once again 
my gray head will lean from these high windows 
in paternal anguish. More than once that blood, 
which you perhaps are indifferently drinking at 
this very hour, will dry in the sunshine of your 
public squares! But do not laugh to-night at 
poor old Strozzi, who has fears for his child. 
Be sparing of his family, for there will come a 
day when you will depend upon it, when you will 
place yourself with him at the window, and 
your heart will also beat when you shall hear the 
sound of our swords. 

Louise. Father! father! you frighten me! 

The Prior (aside to Louise). Is that not 
Thomas who is prowling around those lamp- 
posts? It seems to me that I recognize him by 
his short stature. Now he has gone away. 

Philippe. Poor city ! where fathers await thus 
the return of their children ! Poor country ! poor 
country ! There are many more at this hour who 
have donned their mantles and swords to plunge 
out into the dark night; and those who await 
them are not anxious; they know that they will 
die to-morrow of want, if they do not die of cold 
to-night. And we, in these sumptuous palaces, 


wait until we are insulted before drawing our 
swords ! The vile speech of some drunken wretch 
transports us with rage, and disperses our sons 
and our friends into the somher streets! The 
dust upon our firearms is not disturbed for public 
misfortunes. They think Philippe Strozzi an 
honest man because he does right without put- 
ting a stop to the wrong; and now, I, a father, 
what would I not give if there were a being in 
the world capable of restoring to me my son, and 
of meting out just punishment for this insult to 
my daughter! But why should people prevent 
misfortune from coming to me, when I have not 
prevented it from coming to others, and that, too, 
when I had it in my power? I have pored over 
my books, and dreamed for my country that 
which I most admired in antiquity. The very 
walls around me cried out for vengeance, and I 
stopped up my ears to bury myself in my medi- 
tations! It has been necessary for tyranny to 
slap me in the face in order to make me say, 
"Let us act!" And my vengeance comes 

(Enter Pierre, Thomas, and Francois 
Pazzi. ) 

Pierre. The deed is done; Salviati is dead. 
(He kisses his sister.) 

Louise. How horrible! You are covered 
with blood! 

Pierre. We waited for him at the corner of 


Archer Street. Frar^ois stopped his horse 
Thomas stabbed him in the leg, and I ... 

Louise. Hush! hush! You terrify me! 
Your eyes are starting out of their sockets; 
your hands are hideous, and you are as pale as 

Lorenzo (rising). You are glorious, Pierre! 
you are as great as vengeance. 

Pierre. Who said that? You here, in this 
house, Lorenzaccio? (He goes up to his father.) 
When are you going to close your doors to that 
scoundrel? Do you not know well enough what 
he is, to say nothing of the story of his duel 
with Maurice? 

Philippe. That is all right; I know all about 
it. If Lorenzo is here, it is because I have good 
reasons for receiving him. We will talk about 
that at a suitable time and place. 

Pierre. Humph! reasons for receiving that 
scoundrel? I shall easily find a very good one 
for pitching him out of the window one of these 
fine days. Say what you like, it suffocates me 
to see such a leper in this room, lounging upon 
our furniture. 

Philippe. Nonsense peace! You are a 
madcap! God grant that your act of this even- 
ing be followed by no evil consequences to us! 
You must hide yourself, to begin with. 

Pierre. Hide myself! In the name of all the 
saints, why should I hide myself? 


Lorenzo (to Thomas). So you hit him on 
the shoulder? . . . Tell me a little . . . 
(He leads him into the recess of a window; 
the two converse in a low voice.) 

Pierre. No, father, I will not hide myself. 
The insult was public; he gave it to us in a 
public place. I struck him down in the middle 
of the street, and it is advisable to tell every- 
body of it to-morrow morning. Since when does 
a man hide himself for vindicating his honor? I 
would willingly wander about with drawn sword, 
all covered with blood, and so proclaim it to the 
whole world. 

Philippe. Come away; I must talk to you. 
You are not wounded, my child? You escaped 
without any injury? 


(At the palace of the Duke. The Duke, half 
clad, Tebaldeo, painting his portrait; Giomo 
is playing the guitar.) 

Giomo ( singing ) . 

Carry my heart to my love, 
Cup-bearer, when I am dead ; 
Of masses, orations, and prayers, 
Let not a one be said. 


The Duke. I knew there was something I 
wanted to ask you. Tell me, Hungarian, what 
did you do to the fellow I saw you beating so 

Giomo. Faith, I can not say, nor he either. 

The Duke. Why, is he dead? 

Griomo. He was a blackguard from a house in 
the neighborhood; just now, in passing, it ap- 
peared to me as though they were burying him. 

The Duke. When my Giomo strikes, he 
strikes hard. 

Giomo. It pleases you to say that. I have 
seen you kill a man at a blow more than once. 

The Duke. You believe it? Was I drunk? 
When I am in high spirits, my lightest blows are 
deadly. What is the matter with you, young 
man does your hand shake? You are leering 
terribly ! ^ 

Tebaldeo. Nothing, my Lord, please your 

(Enter Lorenzo.) 

Lorenzo. How is it getting along? Are you 
pleased with my protege? (He takes the Duke's 
coat of mail from the sofa. ) This is a fine coat 
of mail, your Highness! But it must be very 

The Duke. Indeed, if it were uncomfortable 
I should not wear it. But it is made of steel 
wire; the sharpest blade could not puncture a 
mesh of it, and at the same time it is as light as 


silk. There is not another like it, perhaps, in all 
Europe; therefore I shall scarcely leave it off; 
never, to speak more plainly. 

Lorenzo. It is very light, but very strong. 
Do you believe it would be proof against a 

The Duke. Certainly. 

Lorenzo. Oh, yes, I remember now; you al- 
ways wear it under your doublet. The other day, 
at the chase, as I was riding in croup behind you, 
I felt it distinctly as I was holding you around 
the waist with my arms. It is a prudent habit. 

The Duke. It is not that I mistrust any one ; 
as you say, it is a habit simply the habit of a 

Lorenzo. Your costume is magnificent! 
How nice these gloves smell! Why do you pose 
half naked? This coat of mail would have made 
a fine effect in your portrait. You were wrong 
to leave it off. 

The Duke. It was the painter's wish; more- 
over, it is always better to pose with bare neck: 
look at the antiques. 

Lorenzo. Where the deuce is my guitar? I 
must play a second to Giomo. 

Tebaldeo. I will paint no more to-day, my 

Giomo (at the window) . What is Lorenzo do- 
ing? There he is, looking down in the well in the 


middle of the garden : it seems to me that it is not 
there that he should be looking for his guitar. 

The Duke. Give me my clothes. Where is 
my coat of mail? 

Giomo. I don't find it; I have looked every- 
where. It must have taken wings. 

The Duke. Lorenzo had it not five minutes 
ago; he must have thrown it into a corner when 
he went away, conformably to his usual praise- 
worthy habit of laziness. 

Giomo. This is incredible; no more coat of 
mail than in my hand. 

The Duke. Nonsense! you must be dream- 
ing; that is impossible. 

Giomo. See for yourself, my Lord ; the room 
is not so large! 

The Duke. Renzo had it there, upon that 
sofa. (Reenter Lorenzo.) What have you 
done with my coat of mail? We can not find it 

Lorenzo. I put it back where it was. Wait! 
No, I placed it on that chair; no, it was on the 
bed. I know nothing about it ; but I have found 
my guitar. 

(He sings to his own accompaniment) 

Good morning, Madam Abbess . 

Giomo. At the bottom of the well, appar- 
ently, for you were bending over it just now, 
with an air of great absorption. 


Lorenzo. To spit into a well to make circles 
is my greatest pleasure. Aside from drinking 
and sleeping, I have no other occupation. 
(He continues to play.) 

Good morning, good morning, 
Mistress of my heart. 

The Duke. It is unheard-of that that coat 
should be lost ! I believe I never took it off twice 
in my life, excepting when I went to bed. 

Lorenzo. Nonsense! nonsense! Do not 
make a valet of a pope's son. Your servants will 
find it. 

The Duke. The devil take you! It was you 
that mislaid it. 

Lorenzo. If I were Duke of Florence, I 
should concern myself with other things than 
coats of mail. By the way, I spoke of you to 
my dear aunt. Everything is all right. Come 
and sit here a little while; I want to whisper to 

Giomo (low to the Duke). It is singular, to 
say the least; the coat of mail has been carried 

The Duke. Somebody will find it. 
(He seats himself beside Lorenzo.) 

Giomo (aside). It is not natural to leave 
good company to go and spit into a well. I 
would like to find that coat of mail, to remove 
from my head an old idea which gets rusty from 


time to time. Bah! a Lorenzaccio ! The coat is 
on some chair. 


(In front of the palace. Enter Salviati covered 
with bloodj and limping; two men support 

Salviati (shouting.) Alexander de Medicis! 
open your window, and see how people treat your 

The Duke (at the window). Who is there in 
the mud? Who crawls to my palace walls with 
such frightful cries? 

Salviati. The Strozzis have assassinated me; 
I am dying at your door. 

The Duke. Which of the Strozzis, and why? 

Salviati. Because I said that their sister was 
in love with you, my noble Duke. The Strozzis 
thought their sister insulted because I said that 
you pleased her; three of them assassinated me. 
I recognized Pierre and Thomas ; I did not know 
the third one. 

The Duke. Have them bring you up here. 
By Hercules! the murderers shall pass the night 
in jail, and we will hang them to-morrow 

(Salviati enters the palace.) 




(Lorenzo's bedroom. Lorenzo, Scoronconcolo, 
fencing. ) 

Scoronconcolo. Have you played enough, 

Lorenzo. No; cry louder. There, parry 
that! there, die! Take that, wretch! 

Scoronconcolo. Ah, the assassin! He is kill- 
ing me! He is cutting my throat! 

Lorenzo. Die! die! die! Stamp your foot. 

Scoronconcolo. Help, archers! help! He is 
killing me, this demon of a Lorenzo! 

Lorenzo. Die, base wretch ! I will stick you, 
pig ... I will stick you! To the heart 
. . . to the heart ! He is ripped open ! Shout 
then . . . strike! kill! Open his heart! 
Cut him in pieces, and eat him . . . eat him ! 
I am in to the elbow! Cut his throat, roll him 
. . . roll! Bite him . . . bite, and eat! 
(He sinks exhausted.) 

Scoronconcolo. You have invented a rough 
play, master, and you go at it like a tiger . . . 
a thousand million thunderbolts! You roar like 
a cave full of lions and panthers. 

Lorenzo. Oh, day of blood! Oh, nuptial 


day! Oh, sun, sun! you have been dry long 
enough ; you are dying of thirst, sun ! His blood 
will intoxicate you. Oh, my vengeance! How 
long your nails are in sprouting! Oh, teeth of 
Ugolino; you need the skull . . . the skull! 

Scoronconcolo. Are you delirious? Have 
you a fever, or are you yourself a dream? 

Lorenzo. Coward! coward! ruffian! The 
poor little one, the fathers, the daughters, fare- 
wells, endless farewells . . . the banks of 
the Arno full of farewells! The urchins write 
them upon the walls. Laugh, old man ! laugh in 
your sleeve! Do you not see that my claws are 
sprouting? Ah, the skull . . . the skull! 
(He swoons.) 

Scoronconcolo. Master, you have an enemy. 
(He dashes water into his face.) Come! master, 
it is not worth while to madden yourself so. A 
man has lofty sentiments or has them not. I 
shall never forget that you did me a good turn, 
without which I should be far from here. Mas- 
ter, if you have an enemy, say so; I will rid 
you of him without anybody being the wiser. 

Lorenzo. It is nothing. I tell you my only 
pleasure is to frighten my neighbors. 

Scoronconcolo. Ever since we have been 
making such an uproar in this room, and turn- 
ing everything in it topsy-turvy, they ought to be 
very well accustomed to our racket. I believe 
that you could cut the throats of thirty men in the 


corridor, and roll them over your floor, without 
anybody in the house noticing that anything un- 
usual was happening. If you wish to frighten 
your neighbors, you go about it badly. They 
were frightened the first time, it is true ; but now 
they content themselves with getting angry, and 
do not even take the pains to leave their seats 
or open their windows. 

Lorenzo. Do you believe it? 

Scoronconcolo. You have an enemy, master. 
Have I not seen you stamp the earth, and curse 
the day you were born? Have I not ears? And 
in the midst of your ragings, have I not dis- 
tinctly heard the clear tinkling of one little 
word, revenge? Upon my word, sir, you are 
growing thin; you do not joke as you used to. 
Believe me, there is nothing so bad for the diges- 
tion as a bitter hatred. Between two men in 
sunlight, is there not always one whose shadow 
annoys the other? Your physician is in my scab- 
bard ; let me cure you. 

(He draws his sword.) 

Lorenzo. Has that physician ever cured you? 

Scoronconcolo. Four or five times. There 
was once a young lady at Padua who said to 
me . 

Lorenzo. Show me that sword. Ah, black- 
guard, it is a fine blade! 

Scoronconcolo. Try it, and you will see. 

Lorenzo. You have guessed my malady; I 


have an enemy. But for him I will not use a 
sword that has been used for others. That which 
shall kill him must have but one baptism here 
below; it will guard his name. 

Scoronconcolo. What is the name of that 

Lorenzo. What does it matter? Are you de- 
voted to me? 

Scoronconcolo. For you I would recrucify 
the Christ! 

Lorenzo. I tell you this in confidence, I shall 
do the deed in this chamber. Listen attentively 
and make no mistake. If I lay him low at 
the first stroke, do not dare to lay a hand upon 
him. But I am no bigger than a flea, and he 
is a wild boar. If he defends himself, I count 
upon you to hold his hands; nothing more 
do you understand? It is my affair. I will give 
you warning of the time and place. 

Scoronconcolo. Amen! 



(At the Strozzi Palace.) 

Pierre. When I think of it, I have a desire to 
cut off my right hand. To have missed that 
scoundrel! A blow so accurate, and to have 
missed him! To whom would it not have been 


a service to be able to say to people, " There is 
one less Salviati in the world? " The knave did 
as spiders do he drew in his hooked legs as he 
fell, and feigned death for fear of being fin- 

Philippe. What matters it to you that he 
lives? Your revenge is only the more complete 
because of it. 

Pierre. Yes, I know very well that is how 
you look at things. There, father, you are a 
good patriot, but a still better father of a family : 
do not trouble your head about all this. 

Philippe. What have you in your head now? 
Can you not live a quarter of an hour without 
thinking of mischief? 

Pierre. No, by the infernal! I can not keep 
quiet a quarter of an hour in this poisonous at- 
mosphere. It weighs upon my head like the 
vault of a prison, and it seems to me that I 
breathe the foul breath of drunkards. Good-by, 
I have some business to attend to now. 

Philippe. Where are you going? 

Pierre. Why do you want to know? I am 
going to the Pazzis. 

Philippe. Wait for me, then, for I am going 
there too. 

Pierre. Not now, father; it is not a good 
time for you. 

Philippe. Speak frankly to me, Pierre. 

Pierre. This is between ourselves, There are 


some fifty of us, the Ruccellais and others, who 
have no love for the bastard. 

Philippe. So then? 

Pierre. So then avalanches sometimes occur 
by means of a pebble no larger than the end of 
a finger. 

Philippe. But have you formed any resolu- 
tions, any plans? Have you taken any steps? 
Oh, children, children! to play with life and 
death! Questions which have shaken the earth 
to its foundations, ideas which have whitened 
myriads of heads, and which have caused them 
to roll like grains of sand at the feet of the exe- 
cutioner; projects which Providence itself re- 
gards with fear and trembling, and leaves to 
man's accomplishing without daring to interfere ! 
You discuss these things while fencing, or in 
drinking a glass of wine, as though it were a 
question of a horse or a masquerade! Do you 
know the meaning of the word republic, of the 
artisan at his work-bench, of the laborer in the 
field, of the citizen at his post, of the whole life 
of a realm? The welfare of men, God of justice ! 
Oh, children, children! have you counted the 

Pierre. A good thrust of a lancet heals all 

Philippe. To heal! to heal! Do you know 
that the least thrust of a lancet should be given 
by a skilful hand? Do you know that it requires 


life-long experience, and world-wide knowledge, 
to draw from the arm of a sick man a single 
drop of blood? Was I not shocked, therefore, 
when I saw you thrust your naked sword beneath 
your cloak last night? Am I not the father of 
my Louise, as you are her brother? Was it not 
a just vengeance? And yet, do you know what 
it cost me? Ah, fathers know that, but the chil- 
dren! If you are ever a father we will talk 
about it. 

Pierre. You who know how to love, ought to 
know how to hate. 

Philippe. What have those Pazzis done to 
God ? They invite their friends to come and con- 
spire, as one invites to a game of dice, and the 
friends as they enter their courtyard, slip in the 
blood of their grandfathers.* For what are 
their swords thirsting? What do you want? 
What do you want? 

Pierre. Why do you belie yourself? Haven't 
I heard you say a hundred times what we are say- 
ing now? Do we not know what you are doing, 
when your servants see your evening lamps still 
burning at your windows when they arise in the 
morning? They who pass sleepless nights do 
not sleep silently. 

Philippe. What are you driving at? Tell 

Pierre. The Medicis are a pestilence. He 

* See the Conspiracy of the Pazzi. Not by th Author. 


who is bitten by a serpent has only to set up for 
a doctor; he has only to cauterize the wound. 

Philippe. And when you have overthrown 
existing conditions, what will you put in their 

Pierre. We are always sure of finding noth- 
ing worse. 

Philippe. I tell you count well the cost. 

Pierre. The heads of a hydra are easily 

Philippe. And you intend to act? That is 
decided ? 

Pierre. We intend to hamstring the mur- 
derers of Florence. 

Philippe. That is irrevocable? . . . You 
intend to act? 

Pierre. Good-by, father; let me go alone. 

Philippe. Since when does the old eagle stay 
in the nest, when his eaglets go to the quarry? 
Oh, my children, my brave and beautiful youth! 
You who have the strength that I have lost, you 
who are to-day what young Philippe used to be, 
allow him to grow old for you ! Take me along, 
my son; I see that you are going to act. I will 
not preach you a long sermon; I will only say 
a few words. There ought to be a little wisdom 
in this gray head: two words, and I am done. 
I am not raving any more ; I will not be a burden 
to you. Do not go without me, my child; wait 
till I get my cloak. 


Pierre. Come, my noble father; we will kiss 
the hem of your garment. You are our patri- 
arch; come and see the dreams of your life real- 
ized. Liberty is ripe; come and see the plant 
which you love arise from the earth. 


(A street. A German Officer and Soldiers; 
Thomas Strozzi in their midst. ) 

The Officer. If you do not find him at home, 
we will find him at the Strozzis. 

Thomas. Go your way, and do not trouble 
yourself; you will know what it costs. 

The Officer. No threats. I am executing the 
orders of the Duke, and I will take nothing from 

Thomas. Imbecile! Who arrests a Strozzi 
upon the word of a Medicis ! 

(A group gathers around them.) 

A Citizen. Why do you arrest this gentle- 
man? We are very well acquainted with him; 
he is Philippe's son. 

Another Citizen. Let him go; we will be re- 
sponsible for him. 

First Citizen. Yes, yes, we will answer for 
the Strozzis. Let him go, or look out for your 

The Officer. Be off, rascals! Let the Duke's 


justice pass, if you do not like the blows of a 

(Pierre and Philippe arrive.) 

Pierre. What is the matter? What is the 
row? What are you doing there, Thomas? 

The Citizens. Prevent him, Philippe; he 
wants to take your son to jail. 

Philippe. To jail? Upon whose order? 

Pierre. To jail? Do you know whom you are 
dealing with? 

The Officer. Arrest that man! 
(The soldiers arrest Pierre.) 

Pierre. Let go of me, wretches, or I will 
stick you like pigs. 

Philippe. By what authority do you act, sir? 

The Officer (showing the Duke's order). 
There is my warrant. I have an order to arrest 
Pierre and Thomas Strozzi. 

(The soldiers press back the people., who 
throw stones at them.) 

Pierre. Of what are we accused? What have 
we done? Help me, my friends; let us thrash 
this rabble. 

(He draws his sword. Another detachment 
of soldiers arrives. ) 

The Officer. Come here; come to my assist- 
ance. (Pierre is disarmed.) March! and the 
first who comes too close, let him have the thrust 
of a pike in his belly! That will teach them to 
mind their own business. 


Pierre. Nobody has a right to arrest me 
without an order from the Council of Eight. I 
care nothing about the orders of Alexander. 
Where is the order of the Eight? 

The Officer. It is before them that we are 
taking you. 

Pierre. If it is before them, I have nothing 
to say. Of what am I accused? 

A Voice in the Crowd. What, Philippe, you 
allow your children to be taken to the tribunal 
of the Eight! 

Pierre. Answer me, of what am I accused? 

The Officer. That does not concern me. 
(The soldiers go off with Pierre and 
Thomas. ) 

Pierre (leaving). Do not be at all uneasy, 
father; the Eight will send me back to supper at 
the house, and the bastard will have to pay the 
costs of the court. 

Philippe (alone, seating himself upon a 
bench). I have many children, but not for long, 
if this continues. What are we coming to, if a 
vengeance as just as Heaven is punished as a 
crime! What! the two oldest of a family as old 
as the hills, imprisoned like highway robbers! 
The grossest insult chastised, a Salviati struck, 
and the halberds in play ! Come out of the scab- 
bard, my sword! If the sacred apparel of judi- 
cial execution becomes the breastplate of ruffians 
and drunkards, may the ax and poniard, the 


arms of the assassin, protect the honest man. O 
Christ! Does justice become a go-between! 
The honor of the Strozzis affronted in a public 
place, and a tribunal obeying the quibbles of a 
boor ! A Salviati throwing down his gauntlet all 
stained with wine and blood, to the noblest family 
of Florence, and when he is chastised, drawing 
the executioner's ax to his defense! Merciful 
heavens! I talked, not a quarter of an hour 
ago, against the ideas of rebellion, and this is 
the bread that I am given to eat, with the words 
of peace upon my lips ! Come ! rouse yourselves, 
my arms; and you, old body, bent with age and 
study, straighten yourself for action! 
(Enter Lorenzo.) 

Lorenzo. Are you asking for alms, Philippe, 
sitting at this street corner? 

Philippe. I demand the charity of man's jus- 
tice: I am a beggar thirsting for justice, and my 
honor is in tatters. 

Lorenzo. What change is being wrought in 
the world, and what new guise is nature to as- 
sume, if the mask of anger rests upon the august 
and peaceful face of old Philippe? Oh, my 
father! what are these lamentations? For whom 
do you scatter upon earth the most precious 
jewels under the sun, the tears of a man with- 
out fear and without reproach? 

Philippe. We must rid ourselves of the Me- 
dicis, Lorenzo. You are a Medicis yourself, but 


only in name ; if I have understood you, if I have 
been an impassive and faithful spectator of the 
hideous comedy which you are playing, let the 
man emerge from the actor. If you have ever 
been anything that is honest, be so to-day. 
Pierre and Thomas are in prison. 

Lorenzo. Yes, yes, I know that. 

Philippe. Is that your reply? Is that your 
attitude, swordless man? 

Lorenzo. Tell me what you wish, then you 
shall have my reply. 

Philippe. To act! How, I do not know. 
What means to employ, what lever to place be- 
neath that citadel of death, to raise and push 
it into the river; what to do, what to determine, 
what men to look for, I don't know yet. But to 
act, to act, to act! O Lorenzo! The time has 
come. Are you not defamed, treated like a dog 
and a heartless wretch? If, in spite of all that, 
I have kept my door open to you, my heart and 
hand open to you, speak, and let me see whether 
I have been mistaken. Have you not talked to 
me of a man also called Lorenzo, who is hiding 
behind the Lorenzo that we see? Does not that 
man love his country? Is he not devoted to his 
friends? You said so, and I believed it. Speak, 
speak, the time has come. 

Lorenzo. If I am not such a one as you wish, 
may the sun fall upon my head ! 

Philippe. Friend, it is wrong to laugh at a 


desperate old man. If you speak the truth, then, 
to arms! I have received promises from you 
which should be binding upon God himself, and 
it was in consequence of those promises that 
I received you. The role which you are playing 
is a role of mire and leprosy, such as the prodigal 
son would not have played in a day of madness, 
and yet I received you. When the very stones 
cried out at your passing, when every step of 
yours caused pools of human blood to spurt out, 
I called you by the sacred name of friend; I 
closed my ears to believe you, my eyes to love 
you; I allowed the shadow of your bad reputa- 
tion to pass over my honor, and my children have 
distrusted me, in finding upon my palm the hide- 
ous outline of the contact of your hand. Be sin- 
cere, for I have been; act, for you are young, 
and I am old. 

Lorenzo. Pierre and Thomas are in prison; 
is that all? 

Philippe. O heavens and earth! yes, that is 
all. Scarcely anything two children of my 
loins who are sitting upon the bench of thieves. 
Two heads that I have kissed as many times as 
I have gray hairs, and that I shall find nailed 
to the gate of the fortress to-morrow morning. 
Yes, that is all nothing more, in sooth. 

Lorenzo. Do not talk to me like that: I am 
consumed with a sadness compared to which the 
darkest night is a dazzling luminary. 


(He seats himself beside Philippe.) 

Philippe. Do you not see that it is impossi- 
ble for me to leave my children to die? They 
may tear me limb from limb, but, like the ser- 
pent, the mutilated fragments of Philippe would 
reunite and raise themselves up for vengeance. 
I know them so well, the Eight! A tribunal of 
statues! A forest of specters, over which there 
passes from time to time the dismal breath of 
doubt which stirs them for a moment, which re- 
solves itself into a word without further appeal. 
A word, a w r ord, a conscience! Those men eat, 
they sleep, they have wives and daughters! Ah! 
let them kill and let them slaughter, but not my 
children, not my children! 

Lorenzo. Pierre is a man; he will speak, and 
he will be set at liberty. 

Philippe. Oh, my Pierre, my first-born! 

Lorenzo. Go home and keep quiet ; or, better 
yet, leave Florence. I will be responsible for 
everything, if you will leave Florence. 

Philippe. I an exile! I, in the bed of a pub- 
lic-house at my last hour! O God! all that for a 
speech of a Salviati! 

Lorenzo. Be aware of this, Salviati wanted 
to seduce your daughter, but not for himself 
alone. Alexander has a foot in that man's bed; 
he exercises there the right of lordship over 

Philippe. And we are doing nothing! O 


Lorenzo, Lorenzo! You are a strong man; talk 
to me. I am weak, and my heart is too much 
interested in it all. I exhaust myself, you see. 
I have been too much given to reflection; I have 
heen too self -centered, like a horse of the wine- 
press; I am no longer fit for the fray. Tell me 
what you think; I will do it. 

Lorenzo. Go home, my dear sir. 

Philippe. This one thing is certain: I am 
going to the Pazzis ; there are there fifty young 
men of determination. They have sworn to act. 
I will talk to them nobly, as a Strozzi and as 
a father, and they will listen to me. This even- 
ing I will invite the forty members of my family 
to supper; I will tell them what has happened 
to me. We shall see, we shall see! This is not 
the end. Let the Medicis look out for them- 
selves! Farewell, I am going to the Pazzis; 
moreover, I was on my way there with Pierre 
when he was arrested. 

Lorenzo. There are many devils, Philippe; 
the one which is tempting you now is not the 
least of all to be feared. 

Philippe. What do you mean? 

Lorenzo. Beware of it; it is a demon more 
beautiful than Apollo liberty, patriotism, men's 
happiness, all these words vibrate like harp- 
strings at its approach; it is the sound of the 
silver scales of its flaming wings. The tears of 
its eyes fertilize the earth, and it holds the palm 


of martys in its hand. Its words purify the air 
about its lips; its flight is so rapid that none can 
say where it goes. Beware of it I Once in my 
life I saw it cross the heavens. I was bending 


over my books; the touch of its hand stirred 
my hair like a light plume. Whether I listened 
or not, we will not say. 

Philippe. I understand you only with diffi- 
culty, and I know not why I am afraid of un- 
derstanding you. 

Lorenzo. Have you only this thought in your 
head: to deliver your sons? Place your finger 
upon your conscience; does not another thought, 
more vast, more terrible, impel you like an over- 
whelming chariot into the midst of those young 

Philippe. Well, yes; may the injustice done 
to my family be the signal of liberty. For my- 
self, and for all, I am going! 

Lorenzo. Beware of yourself, Philippe; you 
have thought of the welfare of humanity. 

Philippe. What does that mean? Are you 
an infectious vapor within as without? You who 
have talked to me of a precious liquor of which 
you were the flagon, is that what you enclose ! 

Lorenzo. I am indeed precious to you, for 
I shall slay Alexander. 

Philippe. You? 

Lorenzo. I, to-morrow or the day after. Go 
home, try to deliver your children; if you can 


not, let them submit to a light punishment; I 
know pertinently that there is no other danger 
for them, and I repeat to you that in a few days 
from now there will be no more of an Alexander 
de Medicis in Florence than there is here a sun 
at midnight. 

Philippe. When that is accomplished, why 
should I be wrong to think of liberty? Will it 
not come when you have committed your deed, if 
you do commit it? 

Lorenzo. Philippe, Philippe, beware of 
yourself! You have sixty years of virtue over 
your gray head ; it is too valuable a stake at haz- 
ard in a game of dice. 

Philippe. If you are hiding beneath these 
somber words something that I should hear, 
speak; you irritate me strangely. 

Lorenzo. Such as you see me, Philippe, I 
was once virtuous. I believed in virtue, in human 
grandeur, as a martyr believes in God. I have 
shed more tears over poor Italy than Niobe over 
her children. 

Philippe. Well, Lorenzo? 

Lorenzo. My youth was as pure as gold. 
During twenty years of silence the thunderbolt 
was gathering in my breast; and I must be in 
reality the spark of a thunderbolt, for suddenly, 
a certain night as I was sitting in the ruins of the 
colosseum, I know not why, I arose ; I stretched 
my young arms to heaven, and I swore that one 


of the tyrants of my country should die by my 
hand. I was a peaceful student, and at that time 
I was occupied only with art and science, and it 
is impossible for me to say how that strange oath 
developed in me. Perhaps that is what a man 
feels when he falls in love. 

Philippe. I have always had confidence in 
you, and yet I believe I am dreaming. 

Lorenzo. And I also. I was happy then; my 
heart and hands were at peace; I was entitled 
to the throne, and I had but to let the sun rise 
and set, to see blossom around me every human 
hope. Men had influenced me neither for good 
nor evil; but I was good, and, to my everlasting 
misfortune, I wished to be great. I must con- 
fess, if Providence forced me to the resolution 
of killing a tyrant, whoever he may be, pride 
forced me to it also. What more can I say to 
you? All the Caesars of the world reminded me 
of Brutus. 

Philippe. The pride of virtue is a noble 
pride. Why do you defend yourself against it? 

Lorenzo. You will never know, short of mad- 
ness, the nature of the thought which has agi- 
tated me. To comprehend the feverish exalta- 
tion which begot in me the Lorenzo who is speak- 
ing to you, it would be necessary for my heart and 
brains to be bared beneath the scalpel. A statue 
which should descend from its pedestal to walk 
in public places among men would perhaps be 


comparable to what I was the day I began to 
live with this idea : I must be a Brutus. 

Philippe. You astonish me more and more. 

Lorenzo. At first I wished to kill Clement 
VII. I was not able to do it because I was ban- 
ished from Rome before the time. I renewed 
my task with Alexander. I wished to act alone, 
without the aid of any man. I was working for 
humanity; but my pride mingled with all my 
philanthropic dreams. It was necessary then 
to begin by stratagem a single combat with my 
enemy. I did not wish to arouse the masses, 
nor to conquer the garrulous glory of a paralytic 
like Cicero ; I wished the man himself, to grapple 
hand to hand with living tyranny, to kill it, and 
afterward to carry my bloody sword to the ros- 
trum and let the fumes of Alexander's blood 
mount to the nostrils of the haranguers, to revive 
the ardor of their sluggish brains. 

Philippe. What a will of iron you have, 
friend ! What a will of iron ! 

Lorenzo. The task which I imposed upon 
myself was difficult with Alexander. Florence 
was, like it is to-day, drowned in wine and blood. 
The Emperor and the Pope have made a duke of 
a butcher's boy. To please my cousin, it was 
necessary to reach him through the tears of 
families; to become his friend and gain his con- 
fidence, it was necessary to mingle in his drunken 
revelries. I was as pure as a lily, and yet I did 


not recoil before that task. Let us not speak 
of what I have become because of that. You 
can understand what I have suffered, and there 
are wounds upon which one does not raise the 
dressings with impunity. I have become vicious, 
cowardly, an object of opprobrium and shame; 
what does it matter? That is not the question. 

Philippe. You drop your head ; your eyes are 

Lorenzo. No, I am not blushing; plaster 
masks have no redness in the service of shame. I 
have done what I have done. You will only 
know that I have succeeded in my enterprise. 
Alexander will presently come into a certain 
place, whence he will not depart alive. I am 
at the end of my trouble, and you may be cer- 
tain, Philippe, that the wild buffalo, when the 
herdsman strikes him to the ground, is not sur- 
rounded with more snares, with more running- 
knots, than I have woven around my bastard. 
That heart, to which an army could not have at- 
tained in a year, is now bared beneath my hand ; 
I have only to let my stiletto fall in order to 
penetrate it. All will be done. Now, do you 
know what has happened to me, and that of 
which I wish to warn you? 

Philippe. You are our Brutus if you speak 
the truth. 

Lorenzo. I believe myself a Brutus, my poor 
Philippe; I remembered the golden baton cov- 


ered with bark. Now, I am acquainted with 
men, and I advise you not to mingle with them. 

Philippe. Why? 

Lorenzo. Ah, you have lived alone, Philippe. 
Like a shining beacon you have remained mo- 
tionless beside the ocean of men, and you have 
beheld in the waters the reflection of your own 
light; from the depths of your solitude you 
found the ocean magnificent beneath the 
splendid canopy of heaven; you did not count 
each wave, you did not hear the sound of it ; you 
were full of confidence in God's handiwork. 
But I, during all this time, have dived; I have 
plunged into this rough sea of life; I have trav- 
ersed all the depths of it, covered with my div- 
ing-bell; while you were admiring the surface, 
I saw the debris of shipwrecks, the bones and 
the leviathans. 

Philippe. Your sadness is heart-rending to 

Lorenzo. It is because I see you such as I 
was, and upon the point of doing that which I 
have done, that I talk to you thus. I do not 
despise men ; the fault of books and of historians 
is that they show them different than they are. 
Life is like a city : one may remain in it for fifty 
or sixty years without seeing anything but prom- 
enades and palaces ; but you must not go into the 
gambling-houses, nor stop on your way home at 
the windows of the poor neighborhoods. This 


is my advice, Philippe ; if it is a question of sav- 
ing your children, I tell you to keep quiet; it 
is the best means of having them returned to you 
after a slight reprimand. If it is a question of 
attempting anything for mankind, I advise you 
to cut off your arms, for you will not be long 
in discovering that you are the only one who 
has any. 

Philippe. I can conceive that the role you are 
playing has given you such ideas. If I under- 
stand you aright, you have taken a hideous route 
to a sublime end, and you believe that every- 
thing resembles that which you have seen. 

Lorenzo. I have awakened from my dreams, 
nothing more. I am telling you the danger of 
having them. I know life, and it is a sink-hole 
of corruption; be persuaded of that. Do not 
meddle with it if you respect anything. 

Philippe. Stop; do not break as a reed my 
staff of old age. I believe in all those things 
that you call dreams ; I believe in virtue, modesty, 
and liberty. 

Lorenzo. You have not seen me, Lorenzaccio, 
in the street! And the children do not fling mud 
at me! The beds of young girls are still warm 
with my perspiration, and the fathers do not 
seize their knives and brooms to fell me as I pass ! 
In the midst of these ten thousand homes which 
you behold, the seventh generation will still be 
talking of the night I entered there, and not one 


of them heaves out a plowman to split me in twain 
like a rotten log! The air which you breathe, 
Philippe, I am breathing, too ; my robe of party- 
colored silk trails idly over the fine sand of the 
promenades; not one drop of poison falls into 
my cup; what am I saying? O Philippe! the 
mothers of the poor shamelessly raise their 
daughters' veils when I pause upon their thresh- 
olds; they let me look upon their beauty, with a 
smile viler than the kiss of Judas, while I, pinch- 
ing the chin of the maiden, clinch my fists in 
rage, as I rattle four or five paltry gold pieces 
in my pocket. 

Philippe. Let not the tempter despise the 
weak. Why tempt, if there is any doubt? 

Lorenzo. Am I a Satan? Light of Heaven! 
I remember yet, I should have wept with the 
first girl that I seduced, if she hadn't begun 
to laugh. When I began to play my role of 
modern Brutus, I walked in my new garb of the 
vast brotherhood of vice, like the tender child 
in the giant's armor of the fable. I believed 
that corruption was a stigma, and that only mon- 
sters bore the marks of it. I began by proclaim- 
ing that my twenty years of virtue was a suf- 
focating mask. O Philippe ! then I entered upon 
the life, and I saw that at my approach every 
one met me half-way; all the masks fell before 
my gaze; humanity raised its veil and showed 
me, as to an adept worthy of it, its monstrous 


nudity. I saw men as they are, and I said to 
myself, " For what am I striving? " When I 
wandered about the streets of Florence, accom- 
panied by my shadow, I looked around me, I 
sought for the faces which should give me cour- 
age, and I demanded of myself, " When I shall 
have done my deed, will that one profit by it? " 
I saw republicans in their studies; I entered into 
the shops; I watched and listened. I gathered 
the conversation of the masses ; I noted the effect 
which tyranny produced upon them; I drank at 
patriotic banquets the wine which engenders the 
metaphor and the personification; I have swal- 
lowed, between two kisses, the most virtuous of 
tears; I was always watching for humanity to 
show me something of honesty upon its face. I 
observed as a lover observes his fiancee while 
waiting for the wedding-day. 

Philippe. If you have only seen the evil, I 
pity you ; but I can not believe you. Evil exists, 
but not without the good, as the shadow exists, 
but not without the light. 

Lorenzo. You only see in me a despiser of 
men : that is an injustice to me. I know perfectly 
well that there are good ones among them; but 
what are they serving, what are they doing, how 
are they acting? Of what use is it that conscience 
be alive, if the arm is dead? From certain points 
of view everything becomes good; a dog is a 
faithful friend ; one may find in him the best of 


servants, as one may also see that he wallows 
in corruption, and that the tongue which licks 
his master's hand, smells of the refuse of a neigh- 
borhood. All that I can see is that I am lost, 
and that men will not profit by it any more than 
they will understand me. 

Philippe. Poor child, this is heart-rending! 
But if you were virtuous, when you shall have 
delivered your country, you will become so again. 
That rejoices my old heart, Lorenzo, the thought 
that you are upright ; so you will throw aside the 
hideous disguise which is disfiguring you, and 
you will become again as pure a metal as the 
bronze statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton. 

Lorenzo. Philippe, Philippe, I have been 
virtuous. The hand which has once raised the 
veil of truth can never let it fall again; it rests 
immovable until death, always holding that ter- 
rible veil, and lifting it higher and higher above 
the head of the man, until the angel of death 
seals his eyes. 

Philippe. All maladies are curable; and vice 
is a malady also. 

Lorenzo. It is too late. I have trained my- 
self to my calling. Vice used to be for me a 
garment; now it is incorporated into my being. 
I am truly a ruffian, and when I joke about my 
peers, I feel as serious as death in the midst of 
my gaiety. Brutus feigned insanity in order to 
kill Tarquin, and what surprises me in him is, 


that he did not lose his reason. Profit by my 
example, Philippe, that is what I have to say 
to you ; do not work for your country. 

Philippe. If I believed you, it seems to me 
that the sky would be forever darkened, and that 
my old age would be condemned to grope its 
way. It may be true that you have taken a dan- 
gerous route; why should I not take some other, 
which would lead me to the same point? My 
purpose is to appeal to the people, and to act 

Lorenzo. Beware, Philippe ! he who tells you 
this knows whereof he speaks. Take whatever 
way you will, you will always have to deal with 

Philippe. I believe in the honesty of republi- 

Lorenzo. I will make a wager with you. I 
am going to kill Alexander! Once my deed is 
accomplished, if the republicans deport them- 
selves as they should, it will be easy for them to 
establish a republic the most beautiful that has 
ever blossomed upon earth. That they have the 
people with them, it is understood. I wager 
that neither they nor the people will do anything. 
All that I ask of you is not to get mixed 
up in it; speak, if you wish to, but weigh your 
words, and still more your actions. Leave me 
to accomplish my task. You have clean hands, 
and I have nothing to lose. 


Philippe. Do it, and you will see. 

Lorenzo. So be it; but remember this. Do 
you see, in that small house, that family assent 
bled around a table? Would you not take them 
for men? They have a body, and a mind within 
the body. Nevertheless, if I should be seized 
with a desire to enter their home, all alone, as you 
see me, and to stab their oldest son in their very 
midst, there would not a knife be raised against 

Philippe. You horrify me! How can the 
heart remain pure with hands like yours? 

Lorenzo. Come, go home to your palace, and 
strive to deliver your children. 

Philippe. But why will you kill the Duke, if 
you have such ideas? 

Lorenzo. Why? You ask that? 

Philippe. If you believe that it is a murder 
useless to your country, why do you commit it? 

Lorenzo. You ask me that to my face? Just 
look at me. I used to be handsome, happy, and 

Philippe. What an abyss what an abyss 
you open to me! 

Lorenzo. You demand of me why I kill 
Alexander? Do you wish me to poison myself, 
or jump into the Arno? Do you wish me to be- 
come a specter, and that in striking upon this 
skeleton, no (He strikes his breast.) sound 
should arise? If I am but a shadow of myself, 


would you have me tear away the only thread 
that binds my heart to my life of former days? 
Do you consider that this murder is all that re- 
mains to me of my virtue? Do you consider that 
I have been slipping for two years upon a per- 
pendicular wall, and that the murder is the only 
straw that I have been able to grasp? Do you 
think that I have no more pride, because I have 
no more shame? And would you have me allow 
the enigma of my life to die in silence? Yes, 
this is certain; if I could become virtuous again, 
if my apprenticeship to vice could be blotted out, 
I perhaps would spare that cattle-driver. But 
I love wine, women, and song; do you under- 
stand that? If you honor anything in me, it is 
this murder which you honor, perhaps, just be- 
cause you would not commit it yourself! Long 
enough have my ears been tingling, and the exe- 
crations of men have poisoned the bread I 
eat; I am tired of hearing men's gossip bawled 
to the four winds of heaven; the world must 
know just who I am, and who he is. Thank 
God! I will, perhaps, kill Alexander to-morrow 
in two days at the most. Those who hover 
around me with suspicious eyes, as around 
some monstrous curiosity from America, will 
be able to get their fill and exhaust them- 
selves of words. Whether men understand me 
or not, whether they act or not, I shall have 
said all that I have to say; I shall make them 


open their lips, if I do not make them scour 
their weapons, and humanity will preserve upon 
its cheek the slap of my sword, branded in char- 
acters of blood. Let them call me whatever they 
will, Brutus or Eratostratus, I do not wish them 
to forget me. My entire life is at the end of 
my dagger, and whether Providence turn the 
head or not upon hearing me strike, I cast hu- 
man nature head or tail upon the tomb of Alex- 
ander; in two days men will appear before the 
tribunal of my will. 

Philippe. All that astonishes me, and there 
are things in all that you have told me that pain 
me, and others that please me. But Pierre and 
Thomas are in prison, and I could not trust any 
one but myself with that affair. My anger 
would fret itself in vain; my feelings are too 
keenly aroused; you may be right, but I must 
do something. I am going to assemble my 

Lorenzo. As you wish; but beware of your- 
self. Keep my secret, even from your friends; 
that is all that I ask of you. 


(At the Soderini palace.) 

Enter Catherine (reading a note). "Lor- 
enzo must have spoken to you of me; but who 
could talk to you worthily of a love like mine? 
Let my pen acquaint you with what my lips can 
not tell you, and what my heart wishes to sign 
with its blood. 


If this were not addressed to me, I should 
think that the messenger had made a mistake, 
and what I read makes me doubt my eyes. 
(Enter Marie.) Oh, my dear mother! see what 
somebody has written me; explain to me, if you 
can, this mystery. 

Marie. Unfortunate girl unfortunate girl! 
He loves you? Where has he seen you? Where 
have you spoken with him? 

Catherine. Nowhere; a messenger handed 
me this as I was leaving the church. 

Marie. Lorenzo, he says, must have spoken 
to you? Ah, Catherine, to have such a son as 
that! Yes, to make his mother's sister the mis- 
tress of the Duke, not even the mistress, oh, my 
daughter! What names do those creatures bear! 
I can not say; he wanted that of Lorenzo. 


Come, I wish to confront him with this open 
letter, and know, before God, what he will say 
to it. 

Catherine. I thought that the Duke was in 
love . . . pardon, mother, but I thought 
that the Duke was in love with the Marquise of 
Cibo. Somebody told me so. 

Marie. It is true that he did love her, if he 
is capable of loving. 

Catherine. He no longer loves her? Ah, 
how can one shamelessly offer a heart like that? 
Come, mother, come to see Lorenzo. 

Marie. Give me your arm. I don't know 
what is the matter with me for a few days; I 
have had fever every night; indeed, for three 
months it has scarcely left me. I have suffered 
too much, my poor Catherine; why did you read 
me that letter? I can bear no more. I am no 
longer young, and yet it seems to me that I could 
become so again under certain conditions; but 
all that I see allures me toward the tomb. Come, 
support me, poor child! I shall not trouble you 
for long. 



(The Marquis of Cibo's Palace.) 

The Marquise (dressed, before a mirror). 
When I think of this, it surprises me. What a 
precipice is life ! Why, it is already nine o'clock, 
and it is the Duke whom I attend in this toilet! 
Let what will come of it, I wish to try my power. 
(Enter the Cardinal.) 

The Cardinal. What a beautiful costume, 
Marquise ! How fragrant these flowers are ! 

The Marquise. I can not receive you, Cardi- 
nal; I am expecting a friend. You will excuse 

The Cardinal. I leave you I leave you. 
That boudoir, the door of which I see is ajar, is 
a little paradise. Shall I wait for you there? 

The Marquise. I am in a hurry pardon me. 
No, not in my boudoir; where you wish. 

The Cardinal. I will return at a more favor- 
able time. 

The Marquise. Why always the face of that 
priest? What circles that bald-headed vulture is 
describing around me, that I always find him 
behind me whenever I turn around? Can it be 
that my last hour is near. (A page enters, who 
whispers to her). Very well, I am coming. 


Ah, this calling of a servant, you were not made 
for that, poor proud heart! 


(The Boudoir of the Marquise. The Marquise; 
the Duke.\ 

The Marquise. That is my way of thinking; 
I would love you in that way. 

The Duke. Words, words, and nothing 

The Marquise. You men, that is so little for 
you! To sacrifice the peace of her days, the sa- 
cred chastity of honor, even her children some- 
times; only to live for one sole being in the 
world ; to give herself away, in short, is all this to 
be called thus ! But this is not worth while ; what 
is the use of listening to a woman? A woman 
who talks of anything but dress and debauchery 
can not be imagined. 

The Duke. You are dreaming wide awake. 

The Marquise. Yes, by heavens! yes, I have 
been dreaming. Alas ! kings alone never do that ; 
all the idle fancies of their caprice are trans- 
formed into realities, and even their nightmares 
are changed into marble. Alexander! Alex- 
ander! what does this mean? " I can, if I wish! " 
Ah, God himself no longer knows; before that 


phrase, the hands of peoples join in anxious 
prayer, and the pale herd of men holds its breath 
to listen. 

The Duke. Let us say no more about that, 
my dear; it is tiresome. 

The Marquise. To be a king! do you know 
what it means? To have armies at command! 
To be the ray of sunlight which dries men's tears ! 
To be both joy and sorrow! Ah, how that 
makes one shudder! How that old man of the 
Vatican would tremble if you were to spread 
your wings, my eaglet! The Emperor is so far 
away ! The garrison is so devoted to you ! And, 
moreover, an army may be disposed of, but not 
a whole people. The day when you shall have 
rallied the whole nation to you, when you shall 
be the leader of a free people, when you can say, 
"As the Doge of Venice weds the Adriatic, so 
I place the golden circlet upon the finger of my 
beautiful Florence, and her children are my chil- 
dren "... Ah! do you know what it is to 
have a nation take its benefactor in its arms? 
Do you know what it is to be borne like a cher- 
ished nursling by the vast ocean of men? Do 
you know what it is to be pointed out by a father 
to his son? 

The Duke. All I care about is the taxes; 
provided they pay them, what is that to me? 

The Marquise. But at last somebody will 
assassinate you. The very stones of the earth 


will rise up to crush you. Ah, posterity! Have 
you never seen that specter beside your bed? 
Have you never asked yourself what generations 
unborn will think of you? And you are alive; 
there is still time. You have only to say the 
word. Are you unmindful of the future of the 
country? It is easy to be great when one is a 
king. Declare Florence independent; demand 
the execution of the treaty with the empire ; draw 
your sword and show it; they will tell you to 
return it to its scabbard, that its flashes dazzle 
their eyes. Think how young you are ! Nothing 
is yet settled on your account. The hearts of 
the people are very indulgent to princes, and pub- 
lic recognition is a profound depth of oblivion 
for past faults. You have had poor advice; you 
have been deceived. But there is still time; you 
have only to speak; so long as you are alive, the 
page is not turned in the book of doom. 

The Duke. Enough, my dear, enough! 

The Marquise. Ah, when it is! When some 
miserable gardener, working by the day, comes 
reluctantly to water a few sickly daisies around 
the tomb of Alexander; when the poor breathe 
joyously the air of heaven, and no longer see 
soaring there the somber meteor of your power; 
when they speak of you with a shake of the 
head ; when they number your grave among those 
of their fathers, are you sure that your last 
sleep will be a peaceful one? You who never 


go to mass, and care only for taxes, are you 
sure that eternity is deaf and that there is no echo 
of life in the hideous abode of the dead ? Do you 
know where the tears of the people go to when 
the wind wafts them away? 

The Duke. You have a pretty leg. 

The Marquise. Listen to me; you are 
thoughtless, I know, but you are not wicked; no, 
above all things you are not that you could 
not be that. Come, arouse yourself; reflect a 
moment, only a moment, upon what I am saying 
to you. Is there nothing in it all? Am I indeed 

The Duke. All that is beyond my compre- 
hension; but what do I do that is so bad? I am 
as good as my neighbors; I am as good as 
indeed, better than the Pope. You remind me 
of the Strozzis with all your talk ; and you know 
that I detest them. You wish me to revolt 
against the Emperor; the Emperor is my step- 
father, my dear friend. You imagine that 
the Florentines do not love me. I am sure that 
they do love me. Ah, zounds! if you should be 
right, what should I fear? 

The Marquise. You are not afraid of your 
people, but you are afraid of the Emperor; you 
have slain or dishonored hundreds of citizens, and 
you think you have taken every precaution when 
you wear a coat of mail under your coat. 

The Duke. Hush! none of that. 


The Marquise. Ah! I am too impulsive; I 
say things that I ought not to say. My dear, 
who does not know that you are brave ? You are 
as brave as you are handsome; whatever wrong 
you have done has been due to your youth, your 
head; what do I know about it? It is the blood 
which courses madly in your burning veins, the 
suffocating sun which weighs upon us. I beg 
of you that I may not be irrevocably lost; that 
my name, that my poor love for you, be not 
inscribed upon a list of infamy. I am a woman, 
it is true, and if beauty is everything to women, 
many others are better than I. But have you 
nothing tell me, tell me now come! have you 
nothing there! 

(She strikes him over his head.) 

The Duke. What a demon ! Sit down there, 
my darling. 

The Marquise. Ah, well ; yes, I must confess 
it yes, I am ambitious, not for myself, but for 
you you and my dear Florence! O God! you 
are witness of my suffering. 

The Duke. You suffer! What is the matter 
with you? 

The Marquise. No, I do not suffer. Listen! 
listen! I see that you are getting weary with 
me. You count the moments, you turn your 
head. Do not go yet: it is perhaps the last time 
that I shall see you. Listen! I tell you that 
Florence calls you her new pestilence, and that 


there is not a cottage where your picture is not 
pasted upon the wall, with a thrust of a knife 
through the heart. If I am mad, if you should 
hate me to-morrow, what does it matter to me? 
You shall know that! 

The Duke. Woe to you, if you play with 
my anger! 

The Marquise. Yes, woe to me ! woe to me ! 

The Duke. Another time to-morrow morn- 
ing, if you wish we will see each other again 
and talk of that. Do not be angry if I leave 
you now; I must go to the chase. 

The Marquise. Yes, woe to me! woe to me! 

The Duke. Why? You are as solemn as a 
judge. Why the deuce, therefore, do you 
meddle with politics? Come, come! your little 
role of woman, and of true woman, is so becom- 
ing to you! You are too devout; that will im- 
prove. Help me put on my coat; my breast 
is quite bare. 

The Marquise. Good-by, Alexander. 

(The Duke kisses her. Enter Cardinal 

The Cardinal. Ah! Excuse me, my Lord; 
I thought my sister was alone. I am very 
awkward; the penalty is mine. I beg your 

The Duke. What do you mean by this? 
Come, Malaspina, this is what smacks of the 
priest. Ought you to see these things? Come 


along come along! What the devil is it to 

(Exeunt together.) 

The Marquise (alone, looking at a picture of 
her husband). Where are you now, Laurent? 
It is past noon; you are walking on the terrace, 
before the great chestnut-trees. Your sleek 
heifers are grazing around you ; your farm-hands 
are eating their dinner in the shade; the lawn 
spreads its pale mantle to the rays of the sun; 
the trees, preserved by your care, are murmuring 
religiously above the head of their old master, 
while the echo of our long piazzas respectfully 
repeat the sound of your light footsteps. Oh, 
my Laurent! I have lost the treasure of your 
honor; I have devoted to ridicule and doubt the 
last years of your noble life ; you will never again 
press to you bosom a heart that is worthy of 
yours; it will be a trembling hand which will 
bring you your evening meal when you return 
from the chase. 



(At the Strozzi Palace. The Forty Strezzis, 
at supper. ) 

Philippe. My children, be seated at the table. 
The Guests. Why are there two empty seats? 
Philippe. Pierre and Thomas are in jail. 


The Guests. For what reason? 

Philippe. Because Salviati insulted my 
daughter, whom you see, at the fair at Mount 
Olivet, in public, and before her brother Leon. 
Pierre and Thomas have killed Salviati, and 
Alexander de Medicis has had them arrested to 
revenge the death of his ruffian. 

The Guests. Death to the Medicis! 

Philippe. I have gathered my family to- 
gether to relate to them my sorrows, and beg 
them to assist me. Let us eat our supper, and 
afterward go with sword in hand to demand my 
two sons, if you have a mind to do so. 

The Guests. It is agreed. We are willing. 

Philippe. It is time for this to end, you 
know. They would kill our sons and dishonor 
our daughters. It is time for Florence to teach 
these bastards what the right over life and death 
means. The Eight have no right to condemn 
my children; and I would never survive it, you 
know ! 

The Guests. Have no fear, Philippe; we are 

Philippe. I am the head of the family: how 
could I bear for any one to insult me? There 
are quite as many of us as of the Medicis, as 
many of the Ruccellai, the Aldobrandini, and 
twenty other families. Why should they have 
the power to destroy our children rather than 
we theirs? Let somebody but light a keg of 


powder under the walls of the citadel, and put 
the German garrison to rout. What is left to 
the Medicis? There lies their strength; aside 
from that they are nothing. Are we men? ShaD 
it be said that Florentine families are struck 
down with a blow of an ax, and that people tear 
from native soil roots as old as the soil itself? 
They have begun with us, we must stand firm; 
our first cry of alarm, like the whistle of a bird- 
catcher, will call together over Florence a whole 
army of eagles driven from their nest; they are 
not far away; they are circling about the city, 
their eyes fixed upon its belfry towers. We will 
plant upon them the black banner of pestilence; 
they will flock together at that signal of death. 
These are the colors of celestial anger. To-night 
let us first go to deliver our sons; to-morrow we 
will go together, with naked swords, to the doors 
of all the great families; there are more than 
fourscore palaces in Florence, and from each one 
of them a band like ours will come out when 
liberty knocks at the door. 

The Guests. Long live liberty! 

Philippe. God is my witness that violence has 
forced me to draw the sword; that for sixty 
years I have been a good and peaceful citizen; 
that I have never injured anybody in the world, 
and that half of my fortune has been used to 
succor the unfortunate. 

The Guests. That is true. 


Philippe. It is a just vengeance that drives 
me to revolt, and I become a rebel because God 
made me a father. I am actuated by no am- 
bitious motive, either of interest or of pride. My 
cause is loyal, honorable, and sacred. Fill your 
glasses and rise. Our vengeance is an offering 
that we can break without fear and share before 
God. I drink to the death of the Medicisl 

The Guests (rising and drinking). To the 
death of the Medicis ! 

Louise (setting down her glass). Ah, I am 

Philippe. What is the matter, my daughter, 
my darling child? What is the matter? My 
God! what has happened? My God! my God, 
how pale you are! Speak What is the mat- 
ter with you? Speak to your father. Help! 
help! a doctor! Quick! quick! there's no time 
to lose! 

Louise. I am dying I am dying! 
(She dies.) 

Philippe. She is going, my friends she is 
going! A doctor! My daughter is poisoned! 
(He drops upon his knees beside Louise.) 

A Guest. Cut her corset! make her drink 
some tepid water. If it is poison, tepid water 
is what she needs. 

(The servants run in.) 

Another Guest. Slap her hands; open the 
windows, and slap her hands. 


Another Guest. Perhaps it is only a dizzi- 
ness ; she may have drunk too fast. 

Another Guest. Poor child! how calm her 
features are! She can not be dead so suddenly 
as all that. 

Philippe. My child, are you dead are you 
dead, Louise, my darling daughter? 

The First Guest. Here comes the doctor. 
(A doctor enters.) 

The Second Guest. Hurry, sir! tell us if it 
is poison. 

Philippe. It is a faint, is it not? 

The Doctor. Poor girl! She is dead. 

(A profound silence reigns in the room; 
Philippe continues kneeling beside Louise, 
holding her hands.) 

A Guest. It is the poison of the Medicis. 
We must not leave Philippe in that condition. 
That immobility is frightful! 

Another Guest. I am sure I am not mis- 
taken. There was a servant around the table 
who used to be employed by Salviati's wife. 

Another Guest. It was he that did it, without 
any doubt. Let us go and arrest him. 

First Guest. Philippe does not reply to any- 
thing that is said to him; he is overwhelmed by 
the blow. 

Another Guest. It is horrible! It is a most 
unheard-of murder! 


Another Guest. It cries vengeance to high 
Heaven. Let us go and kill Alexander. 

Another Guest. Yes, let us go. Death to 
Alexander! It is he that ordered it done. Fools 
that we are! His hatred of us is not a thing of 
yesterday. We are acting too late. 

Another Guest. Salviati did not want any- 
thing of that poor Louise on his own account; 
he was acting for tne Duke. Come, let us be off, 
though they should kill us to the very last man. 

Philippe (arising). My friends, you will 
bury my poor girl, will you not (He puts on his 
cloak.), in my garden, behind the fig-trees? 
Farewell, my dear friends, farewell. Take care 
of yourselves. 

A Guest. Where are you going, Philippe? 

Philippe. I have borne enough, you know! 
I have borne all that I can bear. My two sons 
are in jail, and now my daughter is dead. I can 
bear no more ; I am going away. 

A Guest. You are going away? Going 
away without revenge? 

Philippe. Yes, yes. Only shroud my poor 
girl; do not bury her; I will attend to that; I 
will do it in my own way, with the assistance 
of some poor monks whom I know, and who will 
come for her to-morrow. What is the use of 
looking at her? She is dead; therefore it is of 
no use. Farewell, my friends. Go home; take 
care of yourselves. 


A Guest. Do not let him go ; he is out of his 

Another Guest. How terrible! I feel ready 
to faint in this room. 

Philippe. Do not do violence to me; do not 
lock me up in a chamber with my dead child. 
Let me go. 

A Guest. Avenge yourself, Philippe. Al- 
low us to avenge you. Let your Louise be our 
Lucretia! We will make Alexander drink the 
rest of his glass. 

Another Guest. A new Lucretia! We will 
take an oath over her body to die for liberty! 
Go to your room, Philippe; think of your coun- 
try. Do not retract what you have said. 

Philippe. Liberty revenge you know that 
is all very fine. I have two sons in jail, and 
here is my daughter dead. If I stay here, every- 
body about me will die. The important point 
is for me to go away and for you to keep quiet. 
When my door and my windows are closed, no 
one will think any more about the Strozzis. If 
they remain open, I shall see you all fall one 
after the other. I am old, you know; it is time 
for me to shut up shop. Farewell, my friends; 
keep quiet. If I am no longer here, they will 
do nothing to you. I am going to Venice. 

A Guest. It is storming frightfully: stay 
here to-night. 


Philippe. Do not bury my poor child; my 
old monks will come to-morrow and take her 
away. God of justice! God of justice! how have 
I offended you? 
(He runs off) 



(At the Palace of the Duke. Enter the Duke 
and Lorenzo.) 

The Duke. I should like to have been there; 
there must have been more than one angry face 
there. But I can not imagine who poisoned that 

Lorenzo. Nor I either unless it was you. 

The Duke. Philippe must be furious! They 
say that he has gone to Venice. Thank God, 
I am rid of that insupportable old man ! As for 
the dear family, they will be good enough to keep 
quiet. Do you know that they have very nearly 
stirred up a little insurrection in their neighbor- 
hood? Somebody has killed two Germans. 

Lorenzo. What I am most sorry about is that 
that good Salviati has a leg amputated. Have 
you found your coat of mail yet? 

The Duke. No, indeed; I am more dis- 
pleased about it than I can say. 

Lorenzo. Mistrust Giomo; it was he that 


stole it from you. What do you wear in place 
of it? 

The Duke. Nothing; I can not bear any 
other; there are no others as light as that. 

Lorenzo. That is unfortunate for you. 

The Duke. You have said nothing to me 
about your aunt. 

Lorenzo. It was from forgetfulness, for she 
adores you. Her eyes have lost their rest since 
the star of your love has arisen in her poor heart. 
I pray you, my Lord, have some pity upon her; 
say when you wish to receive her, and at what 
hour it will be allowable for her to sacrifice the 
little virtue that she has to you. 

The Duke. Are you talking seriously? 

Lorenzo. As seriously as death itself. I 
should like to see that an aunt of mine did not 
flirt with you! 

The Duke. Where can I see her? 

Lorenzo. In my chamber, my Lord. I will 
have white curtains put to my bed and a pot 
of mignonette upon the table ; after which I will 
write down in your note-book that my aunt will 
be in dishabille at midnight precisely, in order 
that you may not forget her after supper. 

The Duke. I will take good care of that. 
Pest! Catherine is a morsel fit for a king. Ah, 
tell me, clever boy, are you sure that she will 
come? How did you accomplish it? 

Lorenzo. I will not tell you that. 


The Duke. I am going to look at a horse 
which I have just bought. Good-by until even- 
ing. Come for me after supper; we will go to- 
gether to your house. As for the Cibo, I am 
tired to death of her. Yesterday again I had to 
entertain her during the entire chase. Good 
afternoon, my dear boy. 


Lorenzo (alone). So it is settled. This even- 
ing I will take him home with me, and to-mor- 
row the republicans will see what they have to do, 
for the Duke of Florence will be dead. I must 
apprise Scoronconcolo. Hasten, sun, if you are 
curious about the news that this night will bring 



(A street. Pierre and Thomas Strozzi, leaving 
the jail.) 

Pierre. I was sure that the Eight would ab- 
solve me, and you also. Come, let us knock at 
our door, and go to find father. That is strange ; 
the shutters are closed. 

The Doorkeeper (opening the door). Alas! 
my Lords, do you know the news? 

Pierre. What news? You look like a ghost 
from some tomb, at the door of this deserted 


The Doorkeeper. Is it possible that you 
know nothing? 

(Two monks arrive.) 

Thomas. What could we know? We are 
just out of jail. Speak; what has happened? 

The Doorkeeper. Alas ! my poor young mas- 
ters, it is horrible to relate! 

The Monks (drawing near). Is this the 
Strozzi palace? 

The Doorkeeper. Yes; what do you wish? 

The Monks. We have come for the body of 
Louise Strozzi. Here is Philippe's authorization, 
in order that you should allow us to take it away. 

Pierre. What are you saying? Whose body 
are you asking for? 

The Monks. Keep out of the way, my child ; 
you bear a resemblance to Philippe upon your 
face. There is nothing good for you to learn 

Thomas. What? She is dead! Dead! 
God of heaven! 

(He takes a seat at one side.) 

Pierre. I am stronger than you think. Who 
killed my sister? for one does not die at her 
age in the space of a single night, without ade- 
quate cause. Who killed her, that I may kill him ? 
Answer me, or you are dead yourself. 

The Doorkeeper. Alas! alas! who can say? 
Nobody knows. 

Pierre. Where is my father? Come, Thomas, 


no tears. By Heaven! my heart feels as though 
it were turning to stone in my bosom, and would 
remain a stone throughout eternity. 

The Monks. If you are Philippe's son, come 
with us; we will take you to him. He has been 
at our convent since yesterday. 

Pierre. And I do not know who killed my 
sister! Listen to me, priests; if you are in the 
image of God, you can receive an oath. By all 
the instruments of torture under heaven, by all 
the tortures of hell . . . No, I do not wish 
to say a word. Let us hurry, that I may see 
my father. O God ! O God ! grant that my sus- 
picions be true, in order that I may grind them 
beneath my heel like grains of sand. Come, 
come, before I lose my strength. Do not say 
a word ; it is a question of vengeance, you know, 
such as celestial anger never dreamed of. 

(A street. Lorenzo, Scoronconcolo.) 

Lorenzo. Go home, and do not fail to come 
at midnight; you will shut yourself into my 
study until some one comes to warn you. 

Scoronconcolo. Yes, my Lord. 

Lorenzo (alone). Of what tiger was my 


mother dreaming when she was with child with 
me? When I think that I used to love flowers, 
meadows, and the sonnets of Petrarch, the specter 
of my youth rises up before me with a shudder. 

God ! why does the little phrase, " Until this 
evening," make this burning joy penetrate to 
my very marrow like a red-hot iron? From 
what tawny breast, from what hairy embraces, 
did I spring? What has that man done to me? 
When I put my ringer on it and reflect who 
will hear me say to-morrow, " I have killed him," 
without replying, " Why did you kill him? " 
That is strange. He has injured others, but he 
has been kind to me, at least in his own fashion. 
If I had only remained quietly in the depths of 
my solitudes at Caf aggiuolo, he would not have 
come to seek me there, and I came to seek him at 
Florence. For what reason? Did the specter 
of my father lead me, like Orestes, toward a new 
.ZEgisthus? Has he then offended me? It is 
strange, and yet I have sacrificed everything for 
this act; the sole thought of this murder has 
caused the dreams of my life to crumble to dust ; 

1 have been nothing but a ruin since this crime, 
like a sinister raven, alighted upon my path and 
beckoned to me. What does it mean? Just now, 
in crossing the square, I heard two men talking 
of a comet. Are these the beatings of a human 
heart that I feel within the walls of my chest? 
Ah, why does this idea come to me so often of 


late" Am I following the will of God? " Is 
there a cloud over my head? When I enter into 
that chamber, and wish to draw my sword from 
its scabbard, I am afraid of drawing the flaming 
sword of the archangel, and then of falling in 
ashes upon my prey. 


(The Marquis of Cibo's house. Enter the 
Cardinal and the Marquise.) 

The Marquise. As you like, Malaspina. 

The Cardinal. Yes, as I like. Think twice, 
Marquise, before trifling with me. Are you like 
other women, and a man must have a gold chain 
around his neck and a mandate in his hand for 
you to comprehend who he is? Are you waiting 
until a valet shouts at the top of his voice upon 
opening a door before me, to know what my 
power is? Mark this: it is not the title that 
makes a man. I am neither an envoy of the 
Pope nor a captain of Charles V; I am more 
than that. 

The Marquise. Yes, I know that. The Em- 
peror of Rome has sold his shadow to the devil: 
that imperial shadow wanders about, tricked out 
in a red robe, under the name of Cibo. 

The Cardinal You are Alexander's mis- 


tress; think of that; and your secret is in my 

The Marquise. Do whatever you please with 
it; we will see what use a confessor knows how 
to make of his conscience. 

The Cardinal. You are mistaken. It was not 
by your confession that I learned it ; I discovered 
it with my own eyes; I saw you kissing the 
Duke. You would have admitted to me in the 
confessional that I could speak of it without a 
breach of confidence, since I saw it outside of the 

The Marquise. Well, then, what next? 

The Cardinal. Why did the Duke leave you 
with such a nonchalant air, and sighing like a 
school-boy when the bell rings? You have sur- 
feited him with your patriotism, which, like an 
insipid beverage, mingles with all the dishes of 
your table. What books have you read, and 
what foolish duenna was your governess, that 
you should not know that a king's mistress 
ordinarily talks of other things than patriot- 

The Marquise. I confess that no one ever 
taught me very clearly what a king's mistress 
should talk about. I neglected to inform myself 
upon that point, as also, perhaps, to eat rice to 
fatten myself, after the fashion of the Turk. 

The Cardinal. No great learning is required 
to keep a lover a little longer than three days. 


The Marquise. It would have been very easy 
for a priest to teach a woman that; why didn't 
you advise me? 

The Cardinal. Do you wish me to advise 
you? Put on your cloak, and go and slip into 
the Duke's alcove. If he expects patriotic talk 
upon seeing you, prove to him that you do not 
talk that way at all times ; be like a somnambulist, 
and conduct yourself in such a manner as to con- 
vince him that if he were to fall asleep upon your 
republican heart, it would not be from weariness. 
Are you a virgin? Is there no more wine of 
Cyprus? Have you not in the depths of your 
memory some joyous song? Have you not read 
Aretino ? 

The Marquise. O heavens! I have heard 
such words as those murmured into the ears of 
the hideous old women in the market-place. If 
you are not a priest, are you a man? Are you 
sure that there is not a God in heaven, that you 
thus put your purple itself to the blush? 

The Cardinal. There is nothing in the world 
so virtuous as the ear of a depraved woman. 
Pretend to understand me or not, but remember 
that my brother is your husband. 

The Marquise. What interest you can have 
in torturing me so is what I can understand but 
vaguely. You inspire me with horror. What 
do you want of me? 

The Cardinal. There are secrets that a worn- 


an ought not to know, but that she can make 
prosper by knowing their elements. 

The Marquise. What mysterious thread of 
your somber thoughts would you like to make 
me grasp? If your desires are as terrifying as 
your threats, speak; show me at least the hair 
which suspends the sword over my head. 

The Cardinal. I can speak only in ambigu- 
ous terms, for the reason that I am not sure of 
you. Let it suffice for you to know, that if you 
had been another woman you would be a 
queen by this time. Since you call me the Em- 
peror's shadow, you would have perceived that it 
is large enough to intercept the sun of Florence. 
Do you know where a woman's smile can lead? 
Do you know to what fortunes founded in the 
alcoves attain? Alexander is the son of a pope, 
understand that; and when that pope was at 
Bologna . . . But I am going too far. 

The Marquise. Beware of confessing in your 
turn. If you are my husband's brother, I am 
Alexander's mistress. 

The Cardinal. You have been that, Mar- 
quise, and many others also.* 

The Marquise. I have been that; yes, thank 
God! I have been that. 

The Cardinal. I was sure that you would be- 
gin with your dreams; it will be necessary, how- 
ever, some day to come to mine. Listen to me; 
we are quarreling to no purpose. Seek a recon- 


dilation with Alexander, and although I of- 
fended you just now by telling you how, I can 
only repeat what I said. Allow. yourself to be 
guided ; in a year, in two years, you would thank 
me. I have struggled a long time to become 
what I am, and I know how far one may go. 
If I were sure of you, I would tell you things 
that God himself will never know. 

The Marquise. Hope for nothing, and be as- 
sured of my contempt. 
(She starts to go.) 

The Cardinal. One moment! Not so fast! 
Do you not hear the sound of horses' feet? 
Should not my brother come to-day or to-mor- 
row? Do you know me for a man of two sides? 
Go to the palace this evening, or you are lost. 

The Marquise. In short, that you may be 
ambitious, that all means may be fair to you, 
I can conceive; but will you speak more clearly? 
Come, Malaspina, I do not wish to despair com- 
pletely because of my perversion. If you can 
convince me, do so; speak frankly. What is 
your aim? 

The Cardinal. You do not despair of being 
convinced; is it not so? Do you take me for a 
child, and think that it is only necessary to rub 
my lips with honey to make me open them? 
Act first ; I will talk to you afterward. The day 
when, as a woman, you shall have gained the nec- 
essary control, not over the mind of Alexander, 


Duke of Florence, but over the heart of Alex- 
ander, your lover, I will teach you the rest, and 
you will know what I expect. 

The Marquise. And so, when I have read 
Aretino to give me my first experience, I shall 
have to read the secret book of your thoughts in 
order to acquire a second? Do you wish me to 
tell you what you do not dare to tell me? You 
will serve the Pope until the Emperor finds that 
you are a better valet than the Pope himself. 
You hope that some day the Emperor will owe 
to you, very truly, very completely, the enslave- 
ment of Italy, and that day oh! that day, is it 
not true? he who is king of half the earth would 
be very well able to give you the paltry inherit- 
ance of heaven in recompense. To govern Flor- 
ence by governing the Duke, you would make a 
tool of a woman, if you could. When poor Ric- 
ciardi Cibo shall have made two or three coups 
d'etat with Alexander, it will presently be said 
that Ricciardi Cibo leads the Duke, and the 
woman is led by her brother-in-law; and as you 
say, who knows just where the tears of the people, 
become a flood, might launch your bark? Is it 
not something like that ? Of course my imagina- 
tion is unable to go as far as yours ; but I believe 
it is pretty much like that. 

The Cardinal. Go this evening to the Duke, 
or you are lost. 

The Marquise. Lost? How so? 


The Cardinal. Your husband shall know all. 

The Marquise. Let him, let him; I will kill 

The Cardinal A woman's threat! Listen, 
and do not trifle with me. Whether you have 
comprehended me well or not, go this evening 
to the Duke. 

The Marquise. No. 

The Cardinal. There is your husband coming 
into the courtyard. By all that is good and holy 
in the world, I will tell him everything if you 
say no again. 

The Marquise. No, no, no! (Enter the 
Marquis.) Laurent, while you were at Massa 
I devoted myself to Alexander. I devoted my- 
self to him, knowing what he was, and what a 
miserable role I was playing. But here is a 
priest who wishes to make me play one viler still ; 
he proposes horrible things to me to secure me 
the title of mistress to the Duke, and turn it to 
his advantage. 

(She throws herself upon her knees.) 

The Marquis. Are you mad? What does she 
mean, Malaspina? How now! you look like a 
statue. Is this a comedy, Cardinal? Well, then, 
what am I to think of this? 

The Cardinal. God bless my soul! 

The Marquis. She has fainted. Hallo! 
somebody bring some smelling-salts. 



(Lorenzo's Chamber. Lorenzo. Two 
Servants. ) 

Lorenzo. When you have placed those flow- 
ers upon the table and these at the foot of the 
bed, make a good fire, but for to-night see that 
it does not blaze, and that the coals give out 
heat without light. Give me the key, and go 
to bed. 

(Enter Catherine.) 

Catherine. Your mother is ill; won't you 
come to see her, Renzo? 

Lorenzo. My mother is ill? 

Catherine. Alas! I must tell you the truth. 
I received a note from the Duke yesterday, in 
which he said that you had doubtless spoken to 
me of love in his behalf. The reading of that 
letter made Marie very ill. 

Lorenzo. I had not spoken of it, however. 
Could not you have told her that there was no 
truth in it? 

Catherine. I did tell her so. Why is your 
chamber so fine and in such good order to-day? 
I did not know that a spirit of order was a strong 
point with you. 

Lorenzo. So the Duke has written you? It 
is strange that I did not know it. What do you 
think of his letter? 


Catherine. What do I think of it? 

Lorenzo. Yes, of Alexander's declaration. 
What does your little innocent heart think of it? 

Catherine. What would you have me think 
of it. 

Lorenzo. Were you not flattered? A love 
which excites the envy of so many women 1 Such 
a fine title to win, the mistress of ... Go 
on, Catherine; tell my mother that I will follow 
you. Go away from here. Leave me! (Exit 
Catherine. ) By heavens ! what a man of wax I 
am! Is vice, like Dejanira's mantle, so deeply 
incorporated with the fibers of my being, that I 
can no longer be responsible for my tongue, and 
that the breath which leaves my lips is poisoned 
in spite of myself? I was going to corrupt 
Catherine ; I believe I would corrupt my mother, 
if the idea were to seize me ; for God only knows 
what bow the gods have bent inside my brain, 
and what force the arrows have which are shot 
forth from it. If all men are particles of an 
immense furnace, surely the unknown hand which 
fashioned me let fall a firebrand instead of a 
spark in this feeble, tottering frame of mine. 
I can deliberate and choose, but I can not re- 
tract when once I have chosen. O God! do not 
young men of the time glory in vice, and have 
young men who leave college anything more ur- 
gent that self -perversion? What a slough must 
such specimens of humanity be, who rush thus 


into public-houses, with lips athirst for debauch- 
ery, when I, who only meant to assume their 
appearance, and entered evil places with a firm 
determination to remain pure beneath my sem- 
blance of sin, can neither recover myself nor 
wash my hands of it, even in blood! Poor Cath- 
erine! you would die nevertheless, like Louise 
Strozzi, or allow yourself to fall into the eternal 
abyss like so many others, if I were not here. O 
Alexander! I am not religious, but I could wish 
that you might say your prayers before coming 
into this room to-night. Is not Catherine virtu- 
ous, irreproachable? For all that, how many 
words would it take to make that innocent dove 
the prey of that rough-haired gladiator? When 
I think that I came near speaking! How many 
girls, under their father's curse, are wandering 
about the confines of the city, or contemplating 
their close-shaven heads in the broken glass of 
some cell, who were just as good as Catherine, 
but who listened to a ruffian less clever than I! 
Ah, well; I have committed many crimes, and if 
my life is ever weighed in the balance of any 
judge whatever, there will be on the one side 
a mountain of sobs, but on the other there will 
perhaps be a drop of pure milk from Catherine's 
breast, which will have nourished legitimate chil- 




(A valley; a convent and two monks; enter Phi- 
Uppe Strozzi and two monks; some noviti- 
ates bearing the bier of Louise; they place it 
in a tomb.) 

Philippe. Let me kiss her before putting her 
in her last bed. When she had retired, it was 
thus that I bent over her to give her my good- 
night kiss. Her melancholy eyes were half 
closed like this; but they would reopen like two 
azure flowers at the first ray of sunlight; she 
would arise softly, a smile upon her lips, and 
come to return to her old father his kiss of the 
evening before. Her celestial face used to make 
delightful an otherwise very sad moment, the 
awakening of a world-weary man. One day 
more, I would think, upon seeing the day break ; 
one more furrow in my field. Then I would 
notice my daughter; life appeared to me in the 
form of her beauty, and the light of day was 

(They close the tomb.) 

Pierre Strozzi (behind the scenes). This 
way come this way. 

Philippe. You will never more arise from 
your couch; never will you set your bare feet 
upon this turf to return to find your father. O 


my Louise! God alone knew what you were to 
me; and I, I, I! 

Pierre (entering). There are a hundred men 
at Sestino who have arrived from Piedmont. 
Come, Philippe; the time for tears is past. 

Philippe. Child, do you know what the time 
for tears is? 

Pierre. The exiles have assembled at Ses- 
tino; it is time to think of vengeance. Let us 
march boldly upon Florence with out little army. 
If we can arrive opportunely, in the night, and 
surprise the guards of the citadel, there's an end 
of it. By heavens! I will raise another monu- 
ment than that to my sister. 

Philippe. Not I. Go without me, my 

Pierre. We can not go without you; you 
know the confederates count upon your name. 
Francis I himself is expecting some move from 
you in the cause of liberty. He writes to you 
as to the leader of Florentine republicans; here 
is his letter. 

. Philippe (opening the letter). Tell him who 
brought this letter to say to the King of France 
that the day when Philippe takes up arms 
against his country he will have become a mad- 

Pierre. What is this new phrase? 

Philippe. The one that suits me. 

Pierre. Thus you will ruin the cause of the 


exiles, for the pleasure of making a set phrase? 
Beware, father; it is not a question of a passage 
from Pliny. Consider well before saying no. 

Philippe. I have known for sixty years what 
I ought to reply to that letter of the King of 

Pierre. This passes all comprehension! 
You will force me to say certain things to you. 
Come with us; father, I beg of you. 
When I was going to the Pazzis, did you not ask 
me to take you with me? Was the situation any 
different then? 

Philippe. Very different. An offended 
father who goes forth with sword in hand, in 
company with his friends, to demand justice, is 
very different from a rebel who arms himself 
against his country, in open campaign, and in 
contempt of law. 

Pierre. It was indeed a question of demand- 
ing justice! It was a question of overpowering 
Alexander! What change is there in the situa- 
tion to-day? You do not love your country, 
or you would take advantage of an occasion like 

Philippe. An occasion! My God! this an 
occasion ! 

(He strikes the tomb.) 

Pierre. Allow yourself to be persuaded. 

Philippe. I have not an ambitious sorrow. 
Leave me alone ; I have said enough about it. 


Pierre. Obstinate old man, inexorable turner 
of phrases 1 you will be the cause of our ruin. 

Philippe. Shut up, insolent one! Get out of 

Pierre. I can not tell you my feelings. Go 
where you please; we will act without you this 
time. By the Eternal! it shall not be said that 
all is lost by fault of a translator of Latin. 

Philippe. Your day has come, Philippe! 
Everything indicates that your day has come. 


'(A bank of the Arno; a quay. 'A long line of 
palaces is seen. Enter Lorenzo. ) 

Lorenzo. The sun is setting; I have no time 
to lose, and yet everything here looks like lost 
time. (He knocks at a door.) Hallo, Signer 
Alamanno ! hallo ! 

Alamanno (upon his terrace). Who is 
there? What do you want of me? 

Lorenzo. I come to notify you that the 
Duke is to be killed to-night; take measures for 
to-morrow with your friends, if you love liberty? 

Alamanno. By whom is Alexander to be 

Lorenzo. By Lorenzo de Medicis. 

Alamanno. Is that you, Lorenzaccio? Come 


in and take supper with some jolly fellows who 
are in my salon. 

Lorenzo. I have not time. Prepare to act 

Alamanno. You wish to kill the Duke your- 
self? Go on! you have been drinking. 

Lorenzo (alone). Perhaps I am wrong to 
tell them that it is I who will kill Alexander, for 
everybody refuses to believe me. (He knocks 
at another door). Hallo, Signor Pazzi! hallo! 

Pazzi (upon his terrace). Who is calling 

Lorenzo. I have come to tell you that the 
Duke will be killed this night. Endeavor to act 
for the liberty of Florence to-morrow. 

Pazzi. Who is going to kill the Duke? 

Lorenzo. No matter. Work away, you and 
your friends. I can not tell you the name of the 

Pazzi. You are mad, imbecile! go to the 
devil ! 


Lorenzo (alone). Evidently if I do not say 
that it is I, they will believe me still less. (He 
knocks at a door.) Hallo, Signor Corsini! 

The Purveyor (upon his terrace). What is 

Lorenzo. Duke Alexander will be killed to- 


The Purveyor. Indeed, Lorenzo! If you 
are drunk, go elsewhere with your jokes. You 
wounded a horse for me very untimely at the 
Nasi ball; may the devil take you! 


Lorenzo. Poor Florence! poor Florence! 

(A plain. Enter Pierre Strozzi and two exiles.) 

Pierre. My father would not come. It was 
impossible for me to make him listen to reason. 

First Exile. I will not announce that to my 
comrades; that would be enough to put them to 

Pierre. Why so? Take your horse this even- 
ing; ride at full speed to Sestino; I will be there 
to-morrow morning. Say that Philippe has re- 
fused, but that Pierre does not refuse. 

First Exile. The confederates want the 
name of Philippe; we can do nothing without 

Pierre. Philippe's surname is the same as 
mine; say that Strozzi will come; that will an- 

First Exile. They will ask to know which 
Strozzi, and if I do not say Philippe, nothing 
will be done. 


Pierre. Imbecile! do as you are told, and 
only answer for yourself. How do you know 
beforehand that nothing will be done? 

First Exile. You need not abuse people, my 

Pierre. Come! mount your horse and go to 

First Exile. In fact, my Lord, my horse is 
tired out. I rode twelve leagues in the night. I 
have no inclination to saddle him just now. 

Pierre. You are nothing but an idiot. (To 
the other exile. ) You go, then ; you will go about 
it better. 

Second Exile. Comrade is right as regards 
Philippe; it is certain that his name would do 
much for the cause. 

Pierre. Cowards! faint-hearted clodhoppers! 
Those who would do most for the cause, they 
are your wives and children who are dying of 
hunger, do you hear? The name of Philippe 
may fill their mouths, but it will not fill their 
b Hies. What pigs you are! 

Second Exile. It is impossible to come to 
any understanding with a man as coarse as that. 
Come on, comrade! 

Pierre. Go to the devil, scoundrels! and tell 
your confederates, if they have no use for me, 
that the King of France has ; and they had better 
take care lest I be given authority over all of 
you I 


Second Exile. Come, comrade, let us go to 
supper; I am tired out, like you. 

(A public square; it is night. Enter Lorenzo.) 

Lorenzo. I will tell him that it is because of 
modesty, and I will take away the light. That 
happens every day; a bride, for example, exacts 
that of her husband before entering the nuptial 
chamber, and Catherine poses as very virtuous. 
Poor girl! who under the sun is, if she is not? 
If my mother should die of all this: that is 
what might happen. And so, that is so much 
done. Patience! One hour is as good as an- 
other; the clock has just struck. If you care 
for it, however? But no, why should you ? Shall 
I take it away? A candle, if you wish; the first 
time that a woman yields, that is very simple. 
Come in, warm yourself a little. Oh, my God! 
yes, merely the caprice of a young girl. And 
what reason for thinking of this murder? It 
will astonish everybody, even Philippe. There 
you are, with livid face! (The moon arises.) 
If the republicans were men, what a revolution 
in the city to-morrow! But Pierre is an am- 
bitious man; the Ruccellai only are good for 
anything. Ah, words, words, everlasting words! 


If there is a God in heaven, he might well laugh 
at all of us; in truth it is very funny. O hu- 
man prattle! O great mutilator of corpses! 
great staver-in of open doors! O armless man! 
No, no! I shall not take away the light. I will 
go straight to the heart; he shall see himself 
slain. . . . Blood of Christ! people will 
gaze out of their windows to-morrow. Provided 
he has not contrived some new breastplate, some 
coat of mail. Cursed invention! It is easy to 
wrestle with God and the devil; but to wrestle 
with scraps of old iron lapped one over the other 
by the dirty hand of an armorer! I will enter af- 
ter him ; he will lay his sword there or there, yes, 
upon the sofa. As for the affair of winding the 
cross-belt around the guard, that is an easy mat- 
ter. If he should take a notion to go to bed, 
that would be the best opportunity. In bed, sit- 
ting down, or standing? Preferably sitting 
down. I will begin by leaving. Scoronconcolo 
is shut up in the study. Then we come in. I 
should not like to have him turn his back, how- 
ever. I will go straight to him. Well, peace! 
peace! the hour has arrived. I must go to some 
wine shop; I had not noticed that I am taking 
cold. I will drink a bottle of wine. No, I won't 
drink. Where the devil shall I go, anyway? 
The wine shops are closed. Is she a good girl? 
Yes, verily. In her chemise? Oh, no! I do not 
think so. Poor Catherine! If my mother should 


die because of this, how sad it would be! What 
if I had told her my plan, what good would it 
have done? Instead of consoling her, it would 
have made her cry, " Crime, crime! " to her very 
last breath. I do not know why I am walking. 
I am ready to drop from fatigue. (He sits 
down.) Poor Philippe! a daughter as beautiful 
as the day! Once upon a time I sat near her 
under the chestnut-tree; her little white hands, 
how she was working! How many days I have 
spent, sitting under the trees! All, what peace! 
What a horizon at Cafaggiuolo! How pretty 
Jeannette, the young daughter of the concierge 
was, as she was drying her clothes! How she 
chased the goats that came walking over her linen 
stretched upon the grass! The white goat with 
the long slender feet would always come back. 
(A clock strikes.) Ah! ah! I must go down 
yonder. Good evening, favorite! eh, drink with 
Giomo. Good wine! It would be ludicrous if 
he were to take a notion to say to me, " Is your 
chamber secluded? Can the people in the vicinity 
hear anything? " That would be ludicrous. 
Ah, that is provided for. Yes, it would be droll 
if that idea were to enter his head. 

I am mistaken in the hour ; it is only half past. 
What is that light under the church porch? 
Some one is hewing, some one is moving stones. 
It would seem as if those men were courageous 
with stone. How they cut, how they hew! 


They are making a crucifix. With what ardor 
they apply themselves to the task 1 I should like 
to see their marble cadaver seize them suddenly 
by the throat. Well, well, what now? I have a 
most incredible desire to dance. I believe if I 
were to let myself go, I should hop like a spar- 
row over all these old plasters and beams. Ah, 
my favorite! put on your new gloves and a 
finer costume than that; tra-la-la! make your- 
self handsome, the bride is beautiful. But, I tell 
you this in a whisper, look out for her little 

(Eocit, running.) 


(At the Duke's Palace. The Duke, at supper; 
Giomo. Enter Cardinal Cibo.) 

The Cardinal. Beware of Lorenzo, my 

The Duke. Ah, it's you, Cardinal! Sit 
down, and take a glass of wine. 

The Cardinal. Beware of Lorenzo, Duke. 
He has been to the Bishop of Marzi this even- 
in, to ask permission to have post-horses for to- 

The Duke. That can not be possible. 

The Cardinal. I have it from the bishop him- 


The Duke. Nonsense ! I tell you that I have 
good reasons for knowing that it can not he so. 

The Cardinal. It is perhaps impossible to 
make you believe me; I am fulfilling my duty 
in warning you. 

The Duke. If it should be true, what is there 
appalling in it? Perhaps he is going to Ca- 

The Cardinal. It is this that is appalling, my 
Lord; in crossing the square, as I was on my 
way here, I saw him with my two eyes jumping 
over plaster and stones like a madman. I called 
to him, and I am forced to own that his look 
frightened me. You may be sure that he is 
maturing some scheme in his head for to-night. 

The Duke. And why should his schemes be 
dangerous to me? 

The Cardinal. Must everything be told, even 
when one is speaking of a favorite? Learn, 
then, that he told two people of my acquaintance, 
openly, upon their terrace, that he would kill 
you to-night. 

The Duke. Drink a glass of wine, Cardinal. 
Do you not know that Renzo is usually drunk 
by sundown? 

(Enter Sir Maurice.) 

Sir Maurice. Your Highness, look out for 
Lorenzo. He told three of my friends this 
evening that he wanted to kill you to-night. 

The Duke. You too, brave Maurice, you be- 


lieve in fairy tales? I thought you more of a 
man than that. 

Sir Maurice. Your Highness knows whether 
I am frightened without a cause or not. What 
I say to you, I can prove. 

The Duke. Sit down, and take a drink with 
the Cardinal. You will not take it amiss if I 
go about my affairs. Well, favorite, it is time 

(Enter Lorenzo.) 

Lorenzo. It is just twelve o'clock. 

The Duke. Give me my sable doublet. 

Lorenzo. Let us hurry; your beauty is per- 
haps already at the rendezvous. 

The Duke. What gloves ought I to take, 
those of a warrior, or those of a lover? 

Lorenzo. Those of a lover, your Highness. 

The Duke. All right; I wish to be a devoted 
admirer of the sex. 

Sir Maurice. What do you say to that, Car- 

The Cardinal That the will of God is done 
in spite of men. 
(Exeunt.) , 



(Lorenzo's Chamber. Enter the Duke and 
Lorenzo. ) 

The Duke. I am frozen; it is indeed cold. 
(He takes off his sword.) Well, favorite, what 
-are you doing now? 

Lorenzo. I am winding your cross-belt 
around your sword, and I will put it under your 
pillow. It is always well to have a weapon at 

(He winds the cross-belt in a manner to 
prevent the sword from coming out of the 
scabbard. ) 

The Duke. You know that I hate prattling, 
and I recall that Catherine used to be a good 
talker. To avoid conversation, I am going to 
bed. By the by, why did you order post-horses 
of the Bishop of Marzi. 

Lorenzo. To go and see my brother who is 
very ill, as he wrote me. 

The Duke. Go now to seek your aunt. 

Lorenzo. In a moment. 

The Duke (alone). To pay court to a wom- 
an who answers yes to you, when she is asked 
yes or no, has always appeared to me very fool- 
ish, and altogether worthy of a Frenchman. 


To-day, especially, when I have eaten supper 
enough for three monks, I would be incapable 
of even saying, "My heart!" or "My sweet 
love!" to the Spanish infanta herself. I will 
pretend to be asleep: it will not be very gallant, 
perhaps, but it will be agreeable. 

(He goes to bed. Lorenzo returns, sword 
in hand.) 

Lorenzo. Are you asleep, my Lord? 
(He stabs him.) 

The Duke. Is that you, Renzo? 

Lorenzo. My Lord, have no doubt of it. 
(He stabs him again. Enter Scoroncon- 
colo. ) 

Scoronconcolo. Is it done? 

Lorenzo. Look, he has bitten my finger. I 
will preserve this bloody ring as a priceless gem 
to my dying day. 

Scoronconcolo. Ah, my God! it is the Duke 
of Florence. 

Lorenzo (seating himself at the window). 
What a beautiful night! How pure the air of 
heaven is! Breathe, breathe, heart broken with 

Scoronconcolo. Come, master, we have done 
too much; let us fly. 

Lorenzo. How soft and balmy the evening 
air is! How the flowers of the fields are burst- 
ing their buds! O magnificent nature! O eter- 
nal repose ! 


Scoronconcolo. The wind will freeze the 
sweat which is trickling down your face. Come, 
my Lord. 

Lorenzo. Ah, God of love! what a moment! 

Scoronconcolo (aside). His mind expands 
strangely. As for me, I shall take time by the 

(He starts to leave.) 

Lorenzo. Wait; draw those curtains. Now 
give me the key to this chamber. 

Scoronconcolo. Provided the neighbors have 
heard nothing! 

Lorenzo. Do not you remember that they are 
accustomed to our racket? Come, let us go. 



(At the Duke's Palace. Enter Valori, Sir 
Maurice and Guicciardini. A crowd of 
courtiers circulate about the salon and 
grounds of the Palace.) 

Sir Maurice. Giomo has not yet returned 
from his errand ; this is becoming more and more 

Guicciardini. There he is, coming into the 


(Enter Giomo.) 

Sir Maurice. Well, what did you find out? 

Giomo. Nothing at all. 

Guicdardini. He doesn't wish to reply; Car- 
dinal Cibo is secluded in the Duke's study; the 
news only comes to him. (Enter another mes- 
senger). Well, has the Duke been found? 
Does any one know what has become of him? 

The Messenger. I do not know. 
(He goes into the study.) 

Valori. What a dreadful thing, gentlemen, 
this disappearance! No news of the Duke yet! 
Didn't you say, Sir Maurice, that you saw him 
last evening? Did he appear to be ill? 
(Reenter Giomo.) 

Giomo (to Sir Maurice). I must whisper it 
to you: the Duke is assassinated. 

Sir Maurice. Assassinated! By whom? 
Where did you find him? 

Giomo. Where you told us: in Lorenzo's 

Sir Maurice. Ah, devil's blood! Does the 
Cardinal know it? 

Giomo. Yes, my Lord. 

Sir Maurice. What has he decided? What 
is to be done about it? The people are crowding 
before the palace already; all this hideous affair 
has come to pass. We are dead men if it is 
confirmed; they will massacre us! 


(Valets carrying casks of wine and baskets 
of food, pass in the background.) 

Guicciardini. What does that mean? Are 
they going to make distributions to the people? 
(Enter a courtier.) 

The Courtier. Is the Duke at leisure, gentle- 
men? This is my cousin, just arrived from Ger- 
many, whom I desire to present to his Lordship ; 
be kind enough to look upon him with favor. 

Guicciardini. Answer him, Sir Valori; I 
don't know what to say to him. 

Valori. The salon is filling up every moment 
with these morning flatterers. They are waiting 
patiently to be admitted. 

Sir Maurice (to Giomo). Has he been con- 
cealed ? 

Giomo. Yes, indeed, in the sacristy. It can't 
be helped! If the people were to learn of this 
death it would be the cause of many more. In 
due time he will be given a public funeral. 
Meanwhile we brought him away in a rug. 

Valori. What will become of us? 

Several Courtiers (drawing near). Will we 
soon be permitted to pay our respects to his 
Highness? What do you think about it, gen- 

Cardinal Cibo (entering). Yes, gentlemen, 
you may go in in an hour or two; the Duke 
passed the night at a masquerade, and he is rest- 
ing just now. 


(The valets hang dominos at the case- 
ments. ) 

The Courtiers. Let us withdraw; the Duke 
is still in bed. He passed the night at a ball. 
(Exeunt Courtiers. Enter the Eight.) 

Niccolini. Well, Cardinal, what has been 

The Cardinal. 

Primo avulso non deficit alter 

Aurens, et simili frondescit virga metallo. 

Niccolini. That's all very fine! but what has 
that to do with it? The Duke is dead; another 
must be chosen, and that as soon as possible. If 
we have not a duke by this evening, or to-mor- 
row, it is all up with us. The people are in a 
ferment just now. 

Vettori. I propose Octavien de Medicis. 

Capponi. Why? He is not the first choice 
by right of birth. 

Acciaiuioli. We might take the Cardinal. 

Sir Maurice. Are you joking? 

Ruccellai. Why, in fact, should you not take 
the Cardinal, since you have allowed him, con- 
trary to all law, to declare himself sole judge 
in this affair? 

Vettori. He is a man capable of directing it 

Ruccellai. Let him get an order from the 


Vettori. He has done that ; the Pope sent the 
authority by a messenger whom the Cardinal 
despatched in the night. 

Ruccellai. You mean by a bird, doubtless; 
for a messenger must take time to go, before 
taking it to return. Do they take us for chil- 

Canigiani (approaching). Gentlemen, if you 
will take my advice, this is what we will do: we 
will elect his natural son, Julian, Duke of Flor- 

Ruccellai. Bravo! a child five years old! 
Isn't he five years old, Canigiani? 

Guicciardini ( low ) . Don't you see the point ? 
It was the Cardinal who put that foolish notion 
into his head: Cibo would be regent, and the 
child would eat sweetmeats. 

Ruccellai. This is shameful! I shall leave 
the room, if you keep on talking like this. 

Enter Cor si. Gentlemen, the Cardinal has 
just written to Cosmo de Medicis. 

The Eight. Without consulting us? 

Corsi. The Cardinal has likewise written to 
Pisa, to Arezzo, and to Pistoja, to the military 
commanders. Jacques de Medicis will be here 
to-morrow, with as large a force as possible. 
Alexander Vitelli is already in the fortress 
with the entire garrison. As for Lorenzo, he 
has despatched three messengers to overtake 


Ruccellai. Your Cardinal had better pro- 
claim himself duke at once, and have done 
with it. 

Corsi. He ordered me to beg of you to put 
the election of Cosmo de Medicis to vote, under 
the provisional title of Governor of the Flor- 
entine Republic. 

Giomo (to the valets who cross the salon). 
Distribute drinks at the door, and don't spare 
the wine more than the rest. 

Ruccellai. Poor people . . . what idlers 
they are making of you! 

Sir Maurice. Come, gentlemen, to vote. 
Here are your ballots. 

Fettori. Cosmo is indeed the first by right 
after Alexander; he is his nearest relative. 

Acciaiuoli. What kind of a man is he? I 
know him very slightly. 

Corsi. He is the best prince in the world. 

Guicciardini. Ah, ah, not altogether that. 
If you were to say, the most expansive and polite 
of princes, it would be nearer the truth. 

Sir Maurice. Your votes, gentlemen! 

Ruccellai. I formally object to this vote, for 
myself, and in the name of all the citizens. 

Fettori. Why? 

Ruccellai. The Republic no longer needs 
either princes, or dukes, or lords. Here is my 

(He shows a blank ballot.) 


Vettori. Your vote is only one vote. We can 
do without you. 

Ruccellai. Farewell then; I wash my hands 
of it. 

Guicciardini (running after him). Ah, my 
God ! Palla, you are too hasty. 

Ruccellai. Leave me alone; I am more than 
sixty-two years old, therefore you can do me no 
great harm in future. 

Niccolini. Your votes, gentlemen! (He un- 
folds the ballots thrown into a hat.) It is unani- 
mous. Has the messenger left for Trebbio? 

Corsi. Yes, my lord. Cosmo will be here to- 
morrow afternoon ; at least, if he doesn't decline. 

Vettori. Why should he decline? 

Niccolini. Ah, my God! if he should decline, 
what would become of us? Fifteen leagues 
from here to Trebbio to find Cosmo, and as many 
to return, would be a day lost. We ought to 
have chosen some one who was nearer. 

Vettori. It can't be helped ! Our vote is cast, 
and it is probable that he will accept. This is 
all very amazing. 


(At Venice. Philippe Strozzi in his study.) 

Philippe. I am told that Pierre is in corre- 
spondence with the King of France; that he is 
at the head of an army, and ready to put the city 
to fire and sword. This, then, is what will be 
done with this poor name of Strozzi, which has 
been so long respected! It will have produced 
a rebel and two or three massacres. O my 
Louise! you are sleeping peacefully beneath the 
sod; the oblivion of the whole world is around 
about you, as within you, in the depths of the 
somber valley where I left you. (Some one 
knocks at the door.) Come in! 
(Enter Lorenzo.) 

Lorenzo. Philippe! I bring you the most 
beautiful jewel of your crown. 

Philippe. What is that you threw there 
a key? 

Lorenzo. That key opens the door of my 
chamber, and in my chamber is Alexander 
de Medicis, dead by this hand which I show 

Philippe. Truly! truly! This is incredible. 

Lorenzo. Believe it, if you wish. You will 
know it from others besides me. 


Philippe (taking the key). Alexander is 
dead! Is it possible? 

Lorenzo. What would you say if the repub- 
licans should offer you the title of Duke in his 

Philippe. I should refuse it, my friend. 

Lorenzo. Truly! truly! That is incredible. 

Philippe. Why? It is very simple to me. 

Lorenzo. As for me to kill Alexander. Why 
don't you believe me? 

Philippe. Oh, our new Brutus ! I believe you, 
and I embrace you. Liberty is saved! Yes, I 
believe you; you are like what you told me you 
were. Give me your hand. The Duke is dead! 
Ah, there is no hatred in my joy; there is only 
love, the purest, the most holy, for my country. 
I call upon God as my witness! 

Lorenzo. Come, calm yourself; there is noth- 
ing saved but me, and I have my back broken 
by the Bishop of Marzi's horses. 

Philippe. Didn't you notify our friends? 
Are they not armed by this time? 

Lorenzo. I did notify them; I knocked at all 
republican doors with the diligence of a brother- 
seeker; I told them to polish their swords, for 
Alexander w r ould be dead when they awakened. 
I think by this time that they have awakened 
more than once, and slept again at pleasure. 
But, indeed, I don't suppose they would do any- 
thing else. 


Philippe. Did you notify the Pazzis? Did 
you tell it to Corsini? 

Lorenzo. To everybody. I might as well 
have said it to the moon, so sure was I that they 
paid no attention to what I said. 

Philippe. What do you mean by that? 

Lorenzo. I mean that they shrugged their 
shoulders and returned to their dinners, their 
dice-boxes, and their women. 

Philippe. Didn't you explain the affair to 

Lorenzo. What the devil would you have me 
explain? Do you think that I had an hour to 
lose with each one of them? I said to them, 
" Prepare yourselves," and I did my deed. 

Philippe. And you believe that the Pazzis 
are doing nothing? What do you know about 
it? You have had no news since you left, and 
you were several days coming here. 

Lorenzo. I believe that the Pazzis are doing 
something; I believe that they are fencing in 
their ante-chamber, and drinking wine from 
time to time, whenever their throats are dry. 

Philippe. You are not sustaining your wager ; 
didn't you want to bet me that what you are 
saying would be the case? Don't be mean! I 
am more hopeful than you. 

Lorenzo. I am more easy than I can tell. 

Philippe. Why didn't you carry the Duke's 
head through the streets? The people would 


have followed you as their savior and their 

Lorenzo. I left the stag to the hounds; let 
them eat up the quarry. 

Philippe. You would have deified men, if 
you did not despise them. 

Lorenzo. I don't despise them ; I know them ; 
I am fully persuaded that there are very few 
who are very bad, many cowards, and a great 
many indifferent ones among them. There are 
also ferocious ones, like the inhabitants of Pis- 
toja, who have found in this affair an occasion 
for cutting the throats of all their chancellors in 
broad daylight, in the middle of the streets. I 
learned that not an hour ago. 

Philippe. I am filled with joy and hope; my 
heart beats high in spite of me. 

Lorenzo. So much the better for you. 

Philippe. Since you know nothing about it, 
why do you speak about it as you do? To be 
sure, all men are not capable of great things, 
but all are sensible of great things : do you deny 
the history of the whole world? Doubtless a 
spark is needed to fire a forest; but the spark 
may be struck by a stone, and the forest take 
fire. It is thus that the flash of a single saber 
may illuminate an entire century. 

Lorenzo. I don't deny history, but I wasn't 

Philippe. Let me call you Brutus; if I am 


a dreamer, leave me that dream. Oil, my friends, 
my compatriots! you can make a fine death-bed 
for the old Strozzis if you choose. 

Lorenzo. Why do you open the window? 

Philippe. Don't you see a messenger com- 
ing? My Brutus! my grand Lorenzo! liberty 
is in the air; I feel it, I breathe it. 

Lorenzo. Philippe! Philippe! none of that; 
close your window ; all these words make me sick. 

Philippe. It seems to me that there is a mob 
in the street ; a town-crier is reading a proclama- 
tion. Hallo, Jean! go and buy the paper of 
that crier. 

Lorenzo. O God! O God! 

Philippe. You're as pale as death! What is 
the matter with you? 

Lorenzo. Didn't you hear anything? 

(Enter a servant bringing the proclama- 
tion. ) 

Philippe. No; read this paper that they were 
hawking in the street. 

Lorenzo (reading). "To any man, noble or 
plebeian, who will kill Lorenzo de Medicis, a 
traitor to his country and the assassin of his mas- 
ter, in whatever place and by whatever means 
it may be, throughout all Italy, the Council of 
the Eight at Florence promise the following 
reward: 1. Four thousand gold florins net; 
2. An annuity of one hundred gold florins, to 
be given to him during his life, and to his direct 


descendants after his death. 3. Permission to 
exercise all the offices of a magistrate, to pos- 
sess all benefits and privileges of the state, in 
spite of his birth if he is a plebeian. 4. A per- 
petual pardon for all his errors, past and future, 
ordinary or extraordinary. 


Well, Philippe! you wouldn't believe just now 
that I had killed Alexander. You see now that 
I did kill him. 

Philippe. Hush! somebody is coming up the 
stairs. Hide yourself in that chamber. 

(Florence, A street. Enter two noblemen.) 

First Nobleman. Isn't that the Marquis of 
Cibo who is coming? It appears that he is walk- 
ing arm-in-arm with his wife. 

(The Marquis and Marquise pass.) 

Second Nobleman. It seems that this good 
Marquis is not of a vindictive nature. Who is 
there in Florence that doesn't know that his wife 
was the mistress of the late Duke? 

First Nobleman. They appear to be very well 
reconciled. I thought I saw them squeezing 

Second Nobleman. The pearl of husbands, 


indeed! He must have a very strong stomach 
to be able to swallow that. 

First Nobleman. I know that it makes talk; 
however, I should advise you not to go to him 
and talk about it to his face. He is a good 
match for any one with all kinds of weapons, 
and scandal-mongers fear the vials of his wrath. 

Second Nobleman. He is a queer fellow, 
there is no use talking. 


(A tavern. Enter Pierre Strozzi and a 

Messenger. ) 

Pierre. These are his own words? 

The Messenger. Yes, my Lord; the King's 
own words. 

Pierre. Very well. (Exit Messenger.) The 
King of France protecting the liberty of Italy 
is, in fact, like a thief protecting a pretty woman 
against another thief. He protects her until he 
has violated her. However that may be, a path 
is opening before me, upon which there is more 
wheat than chaff. A curse upon that Loren- 
zaccio, who thinks he's somebody! My revenge 
slipped through my fingers like a frightened 
bird. I can imagine nothing here that is worthy 
of me. Let us make a vigorous attack upon the 


town, and then have done with these old women 
who think of nothing but the name of my father, 
and who eye me the livelong day from head to 
foot, to discover wherein I resemble him. I was 
born for something besides a leader of bandits. 


(A square. Florence. The Goldsmith and 
the Mercer.) 

The Mercer. Mark what I tell you; pay at- 
tention to my words. The late Duke Alexander 
was killed in the year 1536, this present year. 
Follow me carefully. He was killed, then, in 
1536; so much for that. He was twenty-six 
years old; do you grasp that? But that is not 
all. He was twenty-six years old, then; right! 
He died the sixth of the month; ah, ah! did you 
know that? Was it not just the sixth of the 
month that he died? Listen now. He died at 
six o'clock in the evening. What do you think 
of that, Father Mondella? If that isn't extraor- 
dinary, I don't know what is. He died, then, 
at six o'clock in the evening. Keep still! don't 
say anything yet. He had six wounds. Very 
well! have you made a note of that? He had 
six wounds; at six o'clock in the evening, the 
sixth of the month, at twenty-six years of age, 


in the year 1536. Now, one word more: he had 
reigned six years. 

The Goldsmith. What nonsense are you giv- 
ing me, neighbor? 

The Mercer. What ! what ! are you absolutely 
incapable of calculating? You don't see what 
has been the result of these supernatural com- 
binations which I have the honor of explaining 
to you. 

The Goldsmith. No, indeed, I don't see the 
result of it. 

The Mercer. You don't see it? Is it possible, 
neighbor, that you don't see it? 

The Goldsmith. I don't see that the least 
thing results from it. What use could it be 
to us? 

The Mercer. The result is that six sixes have 
contributed to the death of Alexander. Hush! 
don't repeat this as coming from me. You 
know that I am regarded as a wise and circum- 
spect man; don't do me any harm, in the name 
of all the saints! It is a more serious matter 
than you think; I till it to you in confidence. 

The Goldsmith. Go about your business; I 
am an old man, but not an old granny yet. 
Cosmo arrives to-day, which is the most apparent 
result of our affair; there has sprung for us a 
fine splitter of words in your night of six sixes. 
Ah, death in life! isn't it a shame! My work- 
men, neighbor, to the last man, rapped upon 


their blocks with their tools, upon seeing the 
Eight pass, and shouted to them: " If you don't 
know enough, and can't take action, call upon 
us, who will act." 

The Mercer. Your workmen were not the 
only ones that shouted; there is a hubbub in the 
city such as was never before heard of. 

The Goldsmith. The people are clamoring 
for a vote ; * some are running after the soldiers, 
others after the wine that is being dispensed; 
they fill their mouths and brains with it, so that 
they lose what little common sense and decent 
speech that might remain to them. 

The Mercer. There are some who would like 
to reestablish the Council, and boldly elect a 
gonfaloniere, as in days of old. 

The Goldsmith. There are some who would 
like to, as you say, but there are none who have 
taken any steps to bring it about. As old as I 
am, I went to the market-place, and received the 
thrust of a halberd in my leg, because I de- 
manded a vote. Not a soul came to my rescue. 
Nobody but the students showed themselves. 

The Mercer. I can readily believe that. Do 
you know what they say, neighbor? They say 
that the purveyor, Roberto Corsini, went last 
evening to the republican meeting, at the Sal- 
viati palace. 

The Goldsmith. Nothing is truer than that. 

* It is understood that an election is meant. 


He offered to deliver the fortress to the friends 
of liberty, with the supplies, keys, and all the 

The Mercer. Did he do it, neighbor did he 
do that? It is a treason against high justice! 

The Goldsmith. Yes, indeed! They have 
brawled, drunk sweet wine, smashed window- 
panes; but the proposition of that brave man 
was not even listened to. Because they didn't 
dare do what he wished them to, they said they 
distrusted him, and that they suspected him of 
treachery in his offers. By all the devils in 
Hades, how mad it makes me! Look the mes- 
sengers from Trebbio are coming! Cosmo isn't 
far away. Good night, neighbor, I can't keep 
still! I must go to the palace. 

The Mercer. Wait for me, neighbor; I will 
go with you. 

(Exit. Enter a preceptor with the little 
Salviati boy, and another with the little 
Strozzi boy.) 

First Preceptor. Sapientissime Doctor, how 
is your Lordship? Is the treasure of your 
precious health in its usual state, and your equi- 
poise properly maintained in these tempestuous 
times ? 

Second Preceptor. A weighty matter, my 
Lord Doctor, is an encounter as learned and as 
flowery as yours upon this cracked and care- 


worn earth. Permit me to press that gigantic 
hand, whence have sprung the masterpieces of 
our language. Confess it, you composed a son- 
net recently. 

Young Salviati. Brat of a Strozzi that you 

Young Strozzi. Your father got a licking, 

First Preceptor. Has the poor sport of our 
muse reached as far as you, who are such a con- 
scientious man of art, so rigid and so austere? 
Eyes like yours which play upon such serrated 
and phosphorescent horizons, have they con- 
sented to occupy themselves with vapors, per- 
chance fantastical and bold, of an iridescent im- 

Second Preceptor. Oh! if you love art, and 
if you love us, I pray you, recite to us your son- 
net. The city is occupied with nothing but your 

First Preceptor. You will perhaps be sur- 
prised that I, who began by singing the mon- 
archy after a fashion, seem this time to sing the 

Young Salviati. Stop kicking me, Strozzi! 

Young Strozzi. There, dog of a Salviati, 
there are two more! 

First Preceptor. These are the verses : 

Let us sing of liberty, which flourishes 
More ardently . . 


Young Salviati. Make this gamin stop, sir; 
he's a ruffian! All the Strozzis are ruffians! 

Second Preceptor. See here, boy, you be 
quiet ! 

Young Strozzi. You are always doing things 
on the sly! There, rascal, take that to your 
father, and tell him to put it with the gash which 
he received from Pierre Strozzi, poisoner that 
you are! You are all poisoners! 

First Preceptor. Will you shut up, mischie- 
vous child? 

(He slaps him.) 

Young Strozzi. Oh! oh! he slapped me! 

First Preceptor. 

Let us sing of liberty, which flourishes 
More ardently 'neath riper suns and skies 
More fair . . . 

Young Strozzi. Oh! oh! he has skinned my 

Second Preceptor. You struck too hard, my 

(Young Strozzi pounds young Salviati.) 
First Preceptor. Well, what does it all mean? 
Second Preceptor. Go on, I beg of you. 
First Preceptor. I would, with pleasure, but 
these children won't stop beating each other. 
(Exeunt children, quarreling; the precep- 
tors follow them.) 



(Florence. A street. Enter Students and 

A Student. Since the great lords use only 
their tongues, let us use our arms. Hallo! the 
votes! the votes! Citizens of Florence, don't let 
a duke be elected without a vote. 

A Soldier. You will have no votes. Be off! 

The Student. Citizens, come here. He has 

menaced your rights, he is insulting the people. 

(A great tumult.) 

The Soldiers. Out of the way! Be off! 
Another Student. We will die for our rights. 
A Soldier. Die then! 

(He stabs him.) 

The Student. Avenge me, Roberto, and com- 
fort my mother! 

(He dies. The students attack the soldiers; 
they retire fighting.) 


(Venice. Strozzi's study. Enter Philippe and 
Lorenzo, holding a letter.) 

Lorenzo. Here is a letter which informs me 
that my mother is dead. Come and take a little 
walk, Philippe. 


Philippe. I beg of you, my friend, not to 
tempt fate. You go and come continually, as 
if that proclamation of death did not exist 
against you. 

Lorenzo. At the time I was going to kill 
Clement VII, a price was put upon my head in 
Rome; it is natural for it to be so throughout 
Italy, now that I have killed Alexander. If I 
were to leave Italy, I should presently be trum- 
peted throughout all Europe, and at my death 
the good God would not fail to have my eternal 
damnation placarded at all the cross-roads of 

Philippe. Your humor is as sad as death. 
You have not changed, Lorenzo. 

Lorenzo. No, indeed ; I wear the same clothes, 
I always walk upon my legs, and I yawn with 
my mouth; there is nothing changed in me but 
a misery; that is, that I am more hollow and 
more empty than a tin statue. 

Philippe. Let us go away together. Become 
a man again. You have been guilty of many 
things, but you are young yet. 

Lorenzo. I am older than Methuselah. I 
pray you, come for a walk. 

Philippe. Your mind tortures itself in in- 
activity; that is your misfortune. You have 
whims, my friend. 

Lorenzo. I admit that. That the republicans 
have done nothing at Florence, that is a great 


whim on my part. That a hundred brave and 
determined young students have been butchered 
in vain ; that Cosmo, a mere clodhopper, has been 
unanimously elected oh! I confess, I confess 
those are unpardonable whims, which do me the 
greatest wrong. 

Philippe. Let us not argue over an event 
which has not come to pass. The most import- 
ant thing is to get out of Italy. You have not 
yet finished your earthly career. 

Lorenzo. I was a machine of murder, but of 
only one murder. 

Philippe. Have you not been happy aside 
from this murder? Even though you should 
only live as an honest man, as an artist, hence- 
forth, why should you want to die? 

Lorenzo. I can only repeat my own words 
to you: I used to be virtuous. Perhaps I might 
become so again, were it not for the ennui which 
seizes me. I still love women and wine; that is 
enough, it is true, to make a rake of me, but not 
enough to make me want to be one. Let us 
go out, I beg of you! 

Philippe. You will get yourself killed in 
some of these walks. 

Lorenzo. It amuses me to be stalked. The 
reward is so great that it almost makes people 
courageous. Yesterday, a tall fellow with bare 
legs followed me along the edge of the water 
for a quarter of an hour, without being able to 


resolve upon killing me. The poor man carried 
some kind of a knife as long as a boar's tusk; 
he looked at it with such a sheepish air that I 
pitied him ; perhaps he was the father of a family 
which was dying of hunger. 

Philippe. O Lorenzo, Lorenzo! you are very 
sick at heart. He was doubtless an honest man ; 
why attribute to people's cowardice their respect 
for the unfortunate? 

Lorenzo. Attribute it to whatever you please. 
I am going to take a turn on the Rialto. 

Philippe. I must have some one of my peo- 
ple follow him. Hallo, Jean! Pippol hallo! 
(Enter a servant.) Take a sword, you and 
one of your comrades, and follow Signor Lor- 
enzo at a suitable distance, so as to be able 
to go to his assistance if anybody attacks 

Jean. Yes, my Lord. 
(Enter Pippo.) 

Pippo. My Lord, Lorenzo is dead! A man 
was hidden behind the door, who stabbed him 
from behind as he was going out. 

Philippe. Let us hurry; perhaps he is only 

Pippo. Don't you see all that mob? The 
people have thrown themselves upon him. Mer- 
ciful God! they are throwing the body into the 
lagoon ! 


Philippe. How horrible! how horrible! What, 
not even a tomb! 


(Florence. The great square. The public gal- 
leries are filled with people. ) 

The crowd, running from all sides. The 
votes! the votes! He is the Duke! He is the 
Duke ! The votes ! He is the Duke of Florence ! 

The Soldiers. Be off with you, rascals! 

Cardinal Cibo (upon a stage,, to Cosmo de 
Medicis) . My Lord, you are Duke of Florence. 
Before receiving from my hands the crown which 
the Pope and the Emperor have charged me to 
confer upon you, I am commanded to have you 
take four oaths. 

Cosmo. What are they, Cardinal? 

The Cardinal. To administer justice without 
reservation; never to attempt anything against 
the authority of Charles V; to avenge the death 
of Alexander; and to be kind to Signer Jules 
and Signorina Julia, his natural children. 

Cosmo. How must I take this oath? 

The Cardinal. Upon the Bible. (He pre- 
sents him the Bible.) I swear before God, and 
you, Cardinal. Now give me your hand. 

(They advance toward the people. Cosmo 
is heard speaking in the background.) 


Cosmo. "Most Noble and Most Puissant 
Lords, the return which I would make to your 
most illustrious and most gracious Lordships, for 
the great benefits which I owe to you, is none 
other than the pledge which is most agreeable to 
me, that young as I am, to have always before 
my eyes, along with the fear of God, honesty 
and justice, and the intention to injure no man, 
either in his estates or in his honor; and as to 
the government of affairs, never to deviate from 
the counsel and judgment of their most prudent 
and judicious Lordships, to whom I present 
myself entirely, and commend myself most de- 

(End of Lorenzaccio.) 





M. ANDRE", a Notary. 
JACQUELINE, his Wife. 
CLAVAROCHE, Officer of Dragoont. 
A Servant. 
A Gardener. 

(A SmaU City.) 


(A bedroom. Jacqueline, in bed. Enter 
M. Andre, in dressing-gown.) 

Andre. Hallo, wife! hey, Jacqueline! hey! 
hallo! Jacqueline! Wife! Plague take the 
sleepy-head ! Hey ! hey ! wife, wake up ! Hallo ! 
hallo! get up, Jacqueline! How she sleeps! 
Hallo! hallo! hallo! hey! hey! hey! wife! wife! 
wife! It's I, Andre, your husband, who has 


something serious to say to you. Hey! hey! 
Jacqueline, are you dead? If you don't wake 
up right away, I'll throw a pitcher of water 
on you ! 

Jacqueline. What is it, love? 

Andre. Light of my life, it isn't anything 
very bad. Will you stop stretching? Sleeping 
is a business with you. Listen to me, I have 
something to say to you. Last night, Landry, 
my clerk . . . 

Jacqueline. But, good gracious! it isn't 
morning. Are you getting crazy, Andre, to 
wake me up like this without any reason? For 
goodness' sake, go back to bed! Are you ill? 

Andre. I am neither crazy nor ill, and I 
awaken you for a very good reason. I w r ant to 
talk to you now; try to listen to me, in the first 
place, and afterward to reply to me. This is 
what happened to Landry, my clerk; you know 
who he is . . . 

Jacqueline. What time is it, if you please? 

Andre. It is six o'clock in the morning. Pay 
attention to what I am saying to you; it is not 
a joking matter, and I am not accustomed to 
jokes. My honor, yours, and the lives of both of 
us, perhaps, depend upon the explanation which 
I am about to make to you. Landry, my clerk, 
saw, last night . . . 

Jacqueline. But, Andre, if you are sick, you 
must tell me so right away. Is not it my place, 


sweetheart, to take care of you and watch over 

Andre. I'm all right, I tell you. Are you in 
a mood to listen to me? 

Jacqueline. Ah, my God! you frighten me. 
Has anybody been robbing us? 

Andre. No, nobody has been robbing us. Sit 
there, in your bed, and listen to me attentively. 
Landry, my clerk, came to awaken me, to return 
a certain piece of work which he had to finish last 
night. As he was in my office . . . 

Jacqueline. Ah, holy Virgin! I know. You 
must have had some quarrel at the cafe where 
you go? 

Andre. No, no, I haven't had any quarrel, 
and nothing has happened to me. Will you lis- 
ten to me? I tell you that Landry, my clerk, 
saw a man slip in at your window last night. 

Jacqueline. I guess by your face that you 
have lost at gambling. 

Andre. Ah, come, wife, are you deaf? You 
have a lover, madame; is that plain enough? 
You are deceiving me. A man scaled our walls 
last night. What does that mean? 

Jacqueline. Be kind enough to open the 

Andre. There, it is open. You can yawn 
after dinner. Thank God, you scarcely fail 
there! Beware, Jacqueline! I am a man of a 
peaceable disposition, and I have taken good 


care of you. I was your father's friend, and you 
are almost as much my daughter as my wife. 
I resolved, in coming here, to treat you kindly; 
and you see that I am doing so, since, before con- 
demning you, I wish to confide in you, and give 
you a chance to defend yourself, and to explain 
yourself categorically. If you refuse, beware! 
There's a garrison in the city, and you see, God 
forgive me! a great many hussars. Your 
silence might confirm the suspicions which I have 
entertained for a long time. 

Jacqueline. Ah, Andre, you don't love me 
any more! It is useless for you to conceal the 
mortal coldness which has replaced so much love, 
beneath friendly words. It did not use to be so ; 
you did not use to talk to me like this ; you would 
not once have condemned me upon a word, with- 
out hearing me. Two years of peace, of love 
and happiness, would not have been, upon a sin- 
gle word, dissipated like a shadow. But then, 
jealousy prompts you to it; for a long time a 
cold indifference has opened the door of your 
heart to that. Of what use would evidence be? 
Innocence itself would be wrong in your eyes. 
You do not love me any longer, since you ac- 
cuse me. 

Andre. How silly you are, Jacqueline! It 
isn't a question of that. Landry, my clerk, saw 
a man . . . 

Jacqueline. Ah, my God! I heard well 


enough. Do you take me for a brute, that you 
din it into my head like this? You tire me to 

Andre. What's the reason that you do not 
answer me? 

Jacqueline (weeping). Merciful heavens, 
how unhappy I am! Whatever will become of 
me? I see very plainly that you have resolved 
upon my death; you can do whatever you please 
with me; you are a man, and I am a woman; 
the strength is on your side. I am resigned; I 
expected this; you seize upon the first pretext 
to justify your violence. There is nothing left 
for me but to go away from here. I will go with 
my child into a convent, into a desert, if it is pos- 
sible; I will carry with me there, I will bury in 
my heart, the memory of times forever past. 

Andre. Wife! wife! for the love of God and 
all the saints, are you making a fool of me? 

Jacqueline. Ah, come! in earnest, Andre, is 
it serious what you say? 

Andre. Is what I say serious? Good 
heavens! I am getting out of patience, and I 
don't know what stops me from taking you into 

Jacqueline. You into court? 

Andre. Yes, into court. It's enough to drive 
a man wild, to have anything to do with such a 
mule. I never heard of any one being so ob- 


Jacqueline (springing out of bed). You saw 
a man enter by the window? Did you see him, 
yes or no? 

Andre. I did not see him with my own eyes. 

Jacqueline. You did not see him with your 
own eyes, and you want to take me into court? 

Andre. Yes, by heavens! if you do not an- 
swer me. 

Jacqueline. Do you know one thing, Andre, 
that my grandmother learned from hers? When 
a husband trusts his wife, he keeps his insults 
for her sake, and when he is sure of his facts, he 
does not want to consult her. When a man has 
suspicions, he raises them; when a man lacks 
proof, he keeps still; and when a man can not 
demonstrate that he is right, he is wrong. Well, 
come along; let us get out of here. 

Andre. So that is the wav vou take it? 

V V 

Jacqueline. Yes, that is the way. Go on, I 
will follow you. 


Andre. And where would you have me go at 
this hour? 

Jacqueline. To court. 

Andre. But, Jacqueline. . . . 

Jacqueline. Go on ; go on. When one threat- 
ens, it is not necessary to threaten in vain. 

Andre. Nonsense! Come, calm yourself a 

Jacqueline. No; you wish to take me to 
court, and I want to go there at once. 


Andre. What will you say in your defense? 
You can just as well tell me now. 

Jacqueline. No, I don't ' want to say any- 
thing here. 

'Andre. Why? 

Jacqueline. Because I want to go to court. 

Andre. You are enough to drive me crazy, 
and it seems to me that I am dreaming. Eternal 
God, Creator of the world, this thing will make 
me sick! Why? what? is it possible? I was in 
my bed; I was sleeeping, and I call upon the 
walls to witness that it was with all my might. 
Landry, my clerk, a child of sixteen, who never 
spoke ill of anybody in his life, the most truth- 
ful boy in the world, who had spent the night in 
copying an inventory, sees a man enter the win- 
dow ; he tells me about it ; I put on my dressing- 
gown, I come to find you in friendship, I ask 
you, for God's sake, to explain to me what it 
means, and you abuse me! You fly into a pas- 
sion, to the extent of springing out of bed and 
seizing me by the throat! No, this beats any- 
thing I ever heard of. I shall not be fit for any- 
thing for a week. Jacqueline, my little wife, it 
is you who treats me like this! 

Jacqueline. Go on; go on; you are a poor, 
abused man. 

Andre. But after all, my dear, what harm 
would it do you to answer me? Do you believe 
that I would think that you are really deceiving 


me? Alas, my God, a word from you would 
suffice. Why do you not want to say it? Per- 
haps it was some thief who slipped in at our 
window. This neighborhood is not of the safest, 
and we should do well to change it. All these 
soldiers are very disagreeable to me, my beauty, 
my jewel! When we go for a walk, to the the- 
ater, to a ball, and even at home, these men never 
leave us alone. I can not say a word in your 
ear without running foul of their epaulets, and 
getting their great hooked sabers tangled up 
with my legs. Who knows whether their im- 
pertinence would not go to the extent of entering 
our windows? You know nothing about it, I 
see plainly; it is not you that encourages them. 
Those rascals are capable of anything. Come, 
now! shake hands. Are you angry with me, 
Jacqueline ? 

Jacqueline. Of course I am angry with you. 
The idea of your threatening to take me into 
court! When my mother knows it, she will give 
it to you! 

Andre. Ah, my child, don't tell her. What's 
the use of mixing others into our little disagree- 
ments? They are passing clouds which obscure 
the sun for a moment, only to leave it brighter 
than before. 

Jacqueline. All right! Give me your hand. 

Andre. Do I not know that you love me? 
Have I not the most implicit confidence in you? 


Have you not given me every earthly proof, 
for the past two years, that you are devoted to 
me, Jacqueline? This window, of which Landry 
speaks, does not open directly into your cham- 
ber; by crossing the inner court, you go from 
there to the vegetable garden. I should not be 
surprised if our neighbor, M. Pierre, comes to 
poach from my trellises. That will not do! I 
will have the gardener watch to-night, and set 
a trap in the alley. We shall have a good laugh 
over it to-morrow. 

Jacqueline. I am tired to death, and you 
have awakened me at this unearthly hour. 

Andre. Go to bed again, darling. I am off. 
I will leave you now. Good-by; let us think no 
more about it. You see, my child, I do not make 
the least search in your apartment; I have not 
opened a closet; I take your word for it. It 
seems to me that I love you a hundred times 
more for having wrongfully suspected you and 
found you innocent. I will make up for it, by 
and by. We will go to the country, and I will 
make you a nice present. Good-by, good -by; I 
will see you later. 

(Jacqueline, alone, opens a Closet; Captain 
Clavaroche is seen cowering there.) 

Clavaroche (coming out of the closet). 
Faugh ! 

Jacqueline. Quick, go away! My husband is 


jealous. Somebody saw you but did not rec- 
ognize you. You can not come here again. 
How did you get along in there? 

Clavaroche. First-rate. 

Jacqueline. We have no time to lose; what 
shall we do? We must meet, without let- 
ting anybody see us. What shall we decide 
upon? The gardener will be on the watch to- 
night. I do not altogether trust my maid. We 
must go somewhere else; it's impossible to meet 
here. Everything is known in a small town. 
You are covered with dust, and I believe you 

Clavaroche. I bruised my knee and my head. 
The hilt of my sword jammed into my ribs. 
Poh! one would think I had come out of a grist- 

Jacqueline. Burn my letters when you get 
home. If anybody were to find them, I should 
be ruined; my mother would send me to a con- 
vent. Landry, a clerk, saw you getting in at 
the window; he shall pay me for that. What's 
to be done? Is there any way? Tell me! You 
are as pale as death. 

Clavaroche. I was in a cramped position 
when you pushed the door to, so that, for more 
than an hour, I was like a specimen of natural 
history in a bottle of alcohol. 

Jacqueline. Well, let us see what shall we 


Clararoche. Nonsense! there's nothing so 
easy as that. 

Jacqueline. What then? 

Clavaroche. I do not know; but nothing is 
easier. Do you think this is my first scrape? 
I am all used up; give me a glass of water. 

Jacqueline. I believe the best thing would be 
to meet each other at the farmhouse. 

Clavaroche. These husbands, when their sus- 
picions are aroused, are troublesome creatures. 
This uniform is in a pretty state, and I shall be 
a pretty sight on parade! (He takes a drink.) 
Have you a brush here? The devil take me, 
if with all this dust I did not have hard work to 
keep from sneezing! 

Jacqueline. Here are my toilet articles: take 
whatever you want. 

Clavaroche (brushing his hair.) What's the 
use of going to the farm-house? Your husband 
is, on the whole, of a mild disposition. Is it a 
habit of his to have these nocturnal visions? 

Jacqueline. No, thank God ! I am trembling 
yet on account of it. But you must remember 
that with the ideas that he has in his head now, 
all his suspicions will fall upon you. 

Clavaroche. Why upon me? 

Jacqueline. Why? But . . . I do not 
know. ... It seems to me that it will be 
so. Bless me! Clavaroche, truth is a queer 
thing; it is something like a specter: you feel 


its presence without being able to put your fin- 
ger on it. 

Clavaroche (adjusting Ms uniform). Bah! 
only old fogies and lawyers say that everything 
is known. They have a good reason for that, 
which is, that anything that is unknown is 
ignored, and consequently does not exist. I 
seem to be talking nonsense. Think it over, you 
will find that it is true. 

Jacqueline. Just as you like. I am trem- 
bling like a leaf, and I am scared to death. 

Clavaroche. Be patient; we shall contrive 

Jacqueline. How? Go, it is daylight. 

Clavaroche. Ah, good heavens, how silly you 
are! You are as pretty as a picture with your 
great frightened look. Let me think a minute; 
sit down there, and let us consider the situation. 
See, I am almost presentable, and in good order 
again. Hard-hearted closet that you have there ! 
It does not do your clothes a bit of good. 

Jacqueline. Do not laugh; you make me 

Clavaroche. Well, my dear, I will tell you 
my rules of conduct. When you cross the path 
of that species of malignant beast called a jeal- 
ous husband . 

Jacqueline. Ah, Clavaroche, for my sake! 

Clavaroche. Have I shocked you? 
(He kisses her,) 


Jacqueline. At least, speak lower. 

Clavaroche. There are three sure means of 
avoiding all inconvenience. The first is to sepa- 
rate; but that we scarcely want to do. 

Jacqueline. You will frighten me to death. 

Clavaroche. The second, and incontestably 
the best, is to pay no attention to it, and, if 
necessity arises . 

Jacqueline. Well? 

Clavaroche. No, that is not any better either; 
you have a husband who wields the pen; the 
sword must be kept in the scabbard. There 
remains, then, the third, which is, to find a 
" chandler." 

Jacqueline. A chandler? What do you 

Clavaroche. That's what we call, in the regi- 
ment, a tall, good-looking young fellow, whose 
duty it is to carry a shawl or a parasol at need; 
who, when a lady arises to dance, goes gravely 
and seats himself in her chair, and follows her 
through the crowd with a melancholy eye, while 
toying with her fan; who gives her his hand 
to assist her from her box at the opera, and 
proudly returns to the buffet the glass from 
which she has just been drinking; he accom- 
panies her upon her walks, reads to her in the 
evening, and buzzes about her incessantly, be- 
sieging her ear with a shower of silly nothings. 
If anybody admires the lady, he bridles up, and 


if anybody insults her he fights. If a cushion 
is needed for the sofa, it is he who hastens to 
search for it, for he knows the house in all its 
parts, he forms a part of the furniture, and goes 
about the corridors without a light. He plays 
cribbage and piquet with the aunts of an even- 
ing. As he circumvents the husband by clever 
and ready tactics, he presently gets himself dis- 
liked. If anything is going on anywhere to 
which the lady wishes to go, he is up by day- 
break, by noon he is at the place or on the road, 
and he has marked the seats with his gloves. 
Ask him why he has made himself her shadow, 
he does not know and can not tell. Is it not 
because the lady sometimes encourages him with 
a smile, and abandons her fingers to him in 
waltzing, while he squeezes them with rapture. 
He is like these great lords who hold an honorary 
position and the entree on high days and holi- 
days; but the private office is closed to them; 
they have no business there. In short, his favors 
end where the true ones begin; he has all that 
anybody sees of women, and nothing that one 
desires of them. Behind this convenient puppet 
hides the happy mystery; he serves as a screen 
to all that is going on clandestinely. If the hus- 
band is jealous, it is of him. Is there idle talk? 
It is on his account. It is he that gets put out 
of the door some fine morning, when the valets 
have heard footsteps in madame's apartment 


during the night; it is he that is spied upon in 
secret; his letters, full of respect and tenderness, 
are opened by the mother-in-law; he goes and 
comes, he is restless, he is allowed to bear the 
brunt, it is his business ; by means of him, the dis- 
creet lover and the very innocent lady, covered 
with an impenetrable disguise, laugh at him and 
the lookers-on. 

Jacqueline. I can not help laughing, in spite 
of the fact that I do not want to. And why does 
this person have the odd name of " chandler " ? 

Clavaroche. Ah, but! it's because it is he who 
carries the 

Jacqueline. That's right, that's right; I un- 
derstand you. 

Clavaroche. Think, my dear: among your 
friends, have you not some good soul capable 
of filling this important position, who, with 
good faith, is agreeable? Seek look think of 
that. (He looks at his watch.) Seven o'clock! 
I must leave you. I am on duty to-day. 

Jacqueline. But, Clavaroche, indeed, I know 
nobody here; and besides, it is a deception 
for which I should not have the courage. What ! 
encourage a young man, attract him to you, al- 
low him to hope, perhaps make him fall in love 
with you in earnest, and make a jest of what 
he may suffer? It's a wanton thing that you 
propose to me. 

Clavaroche. Would you rather I should lose 


you? And in our present embarrassment, do 
you not see that we must ward off suspicion at 
any price? 

Jacqueline. Why make them fall upon an- 

Clavaroche. Ah, they will fall. Suspicions, 
my dear, the suspicions of a jealous husband, can 
not soar in space; they are not swallows. They 
must light sooner or later, and the safest thing 
is to prepare a place for them. 

Jacqueline. No, decidedly, I can not. 
Would it not be necessary to compromise myself 
very truly for that? 

Clavaroche. Are you joking? Would you 
not always be able to demonstrate your inno- 
cence if necessity arises? A lover is not a para- 

Jacqueline. Very well . . . but time is 
pressing. Whom do you want? Mention some- 
body to me. 

Clavaroche (at the window). Look here! 
here, in your court, are three young men sitting 
at the foot of a tree; they are your husband's 
clerks. I leave you the choice between them. 
When I return, let one of them be madly in love 
with you. 

Jacqueline. How would that be possible? I 
never spoke to them in my life. 

Clavaroche. Are you not a daughter of Eve I 
Come, Jacqueline, consent. 


Jacqueline. Do not count upon it; I shall do 
nothing of the kind. 

Clavaroche. Give me your hand; thanks. 
Good-by, my very timid little blond; you are 
clever, young, and pretty, in love ... a lit- 
tle, are you not, madame? To the task! good 

Jacqueline. You are bold, Clavaroche. 

Clavaroche. Proud and bold; proud of 
pleasing you ; and bold to keep you. 


(A little garden. Fortunio, Landry, and 
Guillaume, seated.) 

Fortunio. Really, that is singular, and this 
adventure is strange. 

Landry. Do not go and prattle about it, at 
least; you would make me lose my place. 

Fortunio. Very strange and very admirable. 
Yes, whoever he may be, he is a lucky man. 

Landry. Promise me to say nothing about 
it. Andre made me swear too. 

Guillaume. You must not open your mouth 
concerning your neighbor, the king, or women. 

Fortunio. It rejoices my heart that such 
things exist. You really saw that, Landry? 

Landry. That's right; there is not any doubt 
about it. 


Fortunio. You heard stealthy footsteps? 

Landry. Like a cat's, behind the wall. 

Fortunio. The window creak softly? 

Landry. Like a grain of sand under the foot. 

Fortunio. Then the shadow of a man upon 
the wall, when he had jumped over the back 

Landry. Like a specter, in his mantle. 

Fortunio. And a hand behind the shutter? 

Landry. Trembling like a leaf. 

Fortunio. A light in the gallery, then a kiss, 
then a few distant footsteps? 

Landry. Then silence, the curtains drawn, 
and the light disappeared. 

Fortunio. If I had been in your place, I 
should have stayed until daylight. 

Guillaume. Are you in love with Jacqueline? 
That would have been a pretty trick ! 

Fortunio. I swear before God, Guillaume, 
that I have never raised my eyes in Jacqueline's 
presence. I should not dare to love her, even 
in a dream. I attended a ball once where she 
was; my hand did not touch hers; she never 
opened her lips to me. I have never known any- 
thing in my life of what she does or what she 
thinks, except that she walks here afternoons, 
and I have breathed upon our window panes to 
look at her walking in the path. 

Guillaume. If you are not in love with her, 
why do you say that you would have remained? 


There was nothing better to do than just what 
Landry did: to go and tell the thing frankly 
to Andre, our employer. 

Fortunio. Landry did as he pleased. Let 
Romeo have his Juliet! I should like to be the 
little bird to warn them of danger. 

Guillaume. There you are with your pranks! 
What good would it do you if Jacqueline has a 
lover? It is some officer of the garrison. 

Fortunio. I should like to have been in the 
office; I should like to have seen all that. 

Guillaume. Bless me; our bookseller is poi- 
soning you with his romances. What could you 
profit by this affair to be Jack Sprat, as be- 
fore? Perhaps you hope that you may have 
your turn. Oh, yes, doubtless, my gentleman 
imagines that she will think of him some day. 
Poor boy! you scarcely know our fine country 
ladies. We, with our black coats, are nothing 
but rubbish, more or less fit for seamstresses. 
They have no use for anything that does not 
wear red trousers, and once their conquest is 
made, what matters it if the garrison changes! 
All soldiers resemble one another. Who loves 
one of them, loves a hundred. Only the lapels 
of the coats are changed, and yellow becomes 
green or white. For the rest, don't they find the 
same curl of the mustache again, the same man- 
ner of the guardsman, the same language, and 
the same pleasure? They are all made after one 


pattern; they might deceive themselves at a 

Fortunio. There is no use of talking with 
you; you pass your holidays and Sundays in 
watching ball games. 

Guillaume. And you, all alone at your win- 
dow, your nose poked into your nosegays. 
That's a great difference ! You will become rav- 
ing mad with your romantic notions. Come, let 
us go in; what are you thinking of? It is time 
to go to work. 

Fortunio. I wish I had been with Landry 
in the office last night. 

(Exeunt. Enter Jacqueline and her serv- 

Jacqueline. Our plums are going to be fine 
this year, and our arbors look well. Come over 
here a little while, and let us sit down upon this 

The Servant. Is madame not afraid of tak- 
ing cold? It is not very warm this morning. 

Jacqueline. Indeed, I believe that I have 
never been twice in this part of the garden, in 
all the two years that I have lived in this house. 
Look at this honeysuckle vine! These trellises 
are well-arranged for climbing plants. 

The Servant. For all that, madame has no 
hat on; she wished to come out bare-headed. 

Jacqueline. Tell me, since you are here: who 
are those young men in the lower room? Can 


I be mistaken? I believe they are looking at us; 
they were here just now. 

The Servant. Madame does not know them! 
They are M. Andre's clerks. 

Jacqueline. Ah! do you know them, Made- 
Ion? You seem to blush as you say that. 

The Servant. I, madame, why should I? I 
know them from seeing them every day; I don't 
know that I know them. 

Jacqueline. Come, confess that you blushed. 
And, in fact, why should you deny it? As far 
as I can see from here, those boys are not so bad. 
Come, confide in me a little, which one do you 
prefer? You are a pretty girl, Madelon; what 
harm if these young men do flirt with you? 

The Servant. I do not say that there is any 
harm; those young men are nice enough, and 
their families are respectable. One of them is 
a short blond; the grisettes of the Boulevard do 
not turn their noses up at a tip of his hat. 

Jacqueline (approaching the house) . Which? 
The one with the mustache? 

The Servant. Oh, my, no! That's M. Lan- 
dry, a great, lanky fellow who never knows what 
to say. 

Jacqueline. The one that is writing there? 

The Servant. No, not at all; that's M. Guil- 
laume, a nice, steady fellow; but his hair does 
not curl, and he is to be pitied when he tries 
to dance of a Sunday. 


Jacqueline. Of whom are you speaking 
then? I do not think there are any others be- 
sides those in the office. 

The Servant. Do you not see that nice, well- 
dressed young man at the window? Look! he 
is bending down; that's young Fortunio. 

Jacqueline. Yes, indeed, now I see him. He 
looks very well, upon my word, with his hair 
over his ears and his little innocent air. Beware, 
Madelon; those angels lead young girls astray. 
And that young gentleman, with his blue eyes, 
flirts with grisettes, does he? Well, Madelon, it 
is not necessary to drop yours in such a peculiar 
manner because of that. Really, you might 
make a worse choice. That one knows what 
to say, I suppose, and is a master hand at 

The Servant. Saving the respect due to you, 
madame, if I were to believe him in love, here, 
it would not be with such an insignificant person 
as I. If you had but turned your head when 
you were passing among the trees, you would 
have seen him more than once, with his arms 
folded, his pen behind his ear, looking at you 
with all his eyes. 

Jacqueline. Are you joking, miss, and do 
you know whom you are talking to? 

The Servant. A cat may look at a king, and 
there are people who say that the king likes to 
be looked at. He is not such a fool, that boy, 


Of whom 
t think the] 
: iosc in the office. 
s Servant. Do y 
.a] young man at the 

rtg down; that 
JacqueUne. Ye- 
looks very well, iij 

his ears an 
Madelon; those 

arc you speaking 
? arc any others be 

see that nice, well- 
<ndow? Look! he 

n. He 

rd, with his hair 
cent air. Bev 
wi young girls astray, 
ith his blue e 
Well, MadeL 
uch a ]> 

"Do you not 'see that nice, well-dressed young wan at 
tke window?" 


The Serv<- 
madame, if I 
it would not be v. 
as I. If you h. 
you were passing 
h^ him i: 

'., his pen beh 

want. A cat 
tMari are people who sa 

espect due to you, 
him in love, here, 

your head v 
trees, you w< 
ce, with his i 
ear, looking at you 

ig, miss, and do 
g to? 

>ok at a king, and 
bftt the king likes to 
ch A fool, that boy, 


and his father is a rich goldsmith. I don't think 
it is any insult to look at people when they pass. 

Jacqueline. Who told you that it is I at 
whom he looks? I imagine that he has not made 
a confidant of you in the matter. 

The Servant. Come, madame! When a 
young man turns his head, it is hardly necessary 
to be a woman not to guess which way he is look- 
ing. I do not want his confidence, and nobody 
told me what I know about it. 

Jacqueline. I am cold. Go and find me a 
shawl, and spare me your idle talk. 
(Exit the servant.) 

Jacqueline. If I am not mistaken, it is the 
gardener whom I noticed among those trees. 
Hallo! Pierre, listen. 

The Gardener (entering). Did you call me, 

Jacqueline. Yes. Go in there; ask for a 
clerk called Fortunio. Tell him to come here; 
I have something to say to him. 

(Exit gardener. A moment later enter 
Fortunio. ) 

Fortunio. Madame, it is doubtless a mistake ; 
I was told that you had asked for me. 

Jacqueline. Sit down; it is not a mistake. 
You see me, M. Fortunio, greatly embarrassed, 
greatly distressed. I do not exactly know how 
to say what I have to ask of you, nor why I 
appeal to you. 


Fortunio. I am only the third clerk ; if it per- 
tains to some important business, Guillaume, our 
head clerk, is there. Do you wish me to call him? 

Jacqueline. No, indeed. If it were a busi- 
ness matter, have I not my husband ? 

Fortunio. Can I be of any use? Please 
speak with confidence. Although I am very 
young, I would gladly die to be of service to 

Jacqueline. That is gallantly and valiantly 
spoken; and yet, if I am not mistaken, I am 
unknown to you. 

Fortunio. The star that shines on the horizon 
knows not the eyes which regard it; but it is 
known to the least herdsman who walks on the 

Jacqueline. It is a secret that I have to tell 
you, and I hesitate for two reasons: in the first 
place, you might betray me; and in the second 
place, even in serving me you might get a bad 
opinion of me. 

Fortunio. May I submit myself to the 
proof? I beg you to believe in me. 

Jacqueline. But, as you say, you are very 
young. You might believe in yourself, and not 
always answer for it. 

Fortunio. You are more beautiful than I am 
young ; what my heart feels, I answer for. 

Jacqueline. Necessity is imprudent. See if 
anybody is listening. 


Fortunio. No one; the garden is empty, and 
I closed the door to the office. 

Jacqueline. No, decidedly I can not do it. 
Pardon me for this useless proceeding, and say 
no more about it. 

Fortunio. Alas! Madame, I am very un- 
fortunate! But just as you please about it. 

Jacqueline. The position that I am in is 
somewhat peculiar. I have need shall I con- 
fess it to you? not exactly of a friend, but of 
the kindly offices of a friend. I do not know 
what to decide. I was walking here in the gar- 
den, looking at these trellises; and I tell you, I 
do not know why, I saw you at that window, 
and the idea came to me to send for you. 

Fortunio. Whatever the caprice of fortune 
to which I owe this favor, permit me to profit 
by it. I can only repeat my own words: I 
would willingly die for you. 

Jacqueline. Don't repeat them too often to 
me; that's the surest way of making me keep 

Fortunio. Why? It's from the bottom of 
my heart . 

Jacqueline. Why? why? You don't know 
anything about it, and I simply do not want to 
think about it. No; what I have to ask of 
you could not have such serious consequences. 
Thank God! it is nothing a trifling thing. 
You are a child, are you not? You think me 


pretty, perhaps, and you thoughtlessly pay me 
a few compliments. I accept them as such, it's 
quite natural; any man in your place might say 
as much. 

Fortunio. Madame, I have never told an un- 
truth. It is very true that I am a child, and one 
might doubt my words; but such as they are, 
God can judge them. 

Jacqueline. All right; you know your part, 
and you won't go back upon your word. 
Enough of that. Take this seat, and make your- 
self comfortable. 

Fortunio. I will do it to please you. 

Jacqueline. Pardon me for a question which 
may seem strange to you. Madelon, my maid, 
told me that your father was a jeweler. He 
must happen to be connected with the merchants 
of the city, is he not? 

Fortunio. Yes, madame, I may say that 
there are very few who do not know our house. 

Jacqueline. Consequently you have occasion 
to go about the business section, and your face is 
known in the stores of the Boulevard? 

Fortunio. Yes, madame, at your service. 

Jacqueline. A lady of my acquaintance has 
a husband who is stingy and jealous. She does 
not lack for money, but she can not spend it. 
Her pleasures, her tastes, her dress, her whims, 
if you please (for what woman lives without 
them?), everything is regulated and controlled. 


It is not that at the end of the year she has 
to economize; but each month, almost each week, 
she must count, discuss, calculate everything she 
buys. You understand that moralizing, all the 
sermons of economy possible, all the reasons of 
a miser, are not lacking upon occasion; in short, 
with ample means, she leads the most uncomfort- 
able kind of a life. She is as poor as a church 
mouse, and her money is no use to her. He who 
speaks of dress, in speaking of women, speaks 
upon a very important subject, you know. So 
it is necessary to resort to some stratagem, at 
any price. Tradespeople only bear in mind 
those commonplace expenditures which the hus- 
band calls " of prime necessity ; " these things 
are satisfactory ordinarily; but, on certain fit- 
ting occasions, certain other secret memoranda 
make mention of a few trifles which the wife, 
in her turn, calls " of the second necessity," 
which is the real one, and which unreasonable 
minds call superfluities. Considering that, all is 
arranged admirably; each one can have his own 
account, and the husband, sure of his receipts, 
does not know enough about clothes to suspect 
that he has not paid for all that he sees upon his 
wife's back. 

Fortunio. I see no great harm in that. 

Jacqueline. Now, then, this is what has hap- 
pened : the husband, a little suspicious, has ended 
by noticing not to many clothes, but too little 


money. He has threatened the servants, thumped 
upon his cashbox, and scolded the merchants. 
The poor miserable wife has not lost a farthing 
of it; but she finds herself, like a new Tantalus, 
devoured from morning to night by a longing 
for clothes. No more confidants, no more secret 
accounts, no more unknown expenditures. This 
longing torments her, however; she seeks to sat- 
isfy it at any hazard. She needs some clever 
young man, discreet, above all things, and of 
sufficient prominence in the city not to arouse 
any suspicion, to go to the stores and buy, as 
for himself, such things as she wants and has 
need of. In the first place, it must be some one 
who has free access to the house, so that he can 
come and go with confidence, some one who has 
good taste, of course, and knows how to make 
wise selections. Perhaps it might be a happy 
chance if there were in the town, some pretty, 
coquettish girl, to whom it was known that he 
was paying attention. That is not the case with 
you, I suppose? That chance would justify 
everything. It would then be supposed that the 
purchases were made for the lady-love. This is 
what it is necessary to find. 

Fortunio. Tell your friend that I am at her 
disposal. I will serve her to the best of my 

Jacqueline. But if that were the case, you 
understand, that in order to be on the familiar 


footing of which I speak, the confidant should 
be seen elsewhere than in the reception-room, is it 
not true ? You understand that his place must be 
at the table and in the drawing-room. You un- 
derstand that discretion is a virtue too important 
to be ignored, but that, aside from good-will, 
a little skill in management would do no harm. 
Some evening, like this evening, for example, 
if it should be pleasant, he must find the latch- 
string out, and bring some trifling little thing 
on the sly, like a bold smuggler. No air of 
mystery must be allowed to betray his cleverness, 
he must be prudent, wise, and cautious; he must 
bear in mind this Spanish proverb which leads 
those that follow it a great ways: " God helps 
those who help themselves." 

Fortunio. I beg of you to make use of me. 

Jacqueline. All these conditions being filled, 
however little one were sure of silence, one might 
tell the confidant the name of his new friend. He 
would then receive without any scruple, cleverly 
as a young soubrette, a purse which he would 
know how to use. Quick! I perceive Madelon 
bringing my cloak. Be discreet and prudent. 
Farewell. The friend is I ; the confidant is you ; 
the purse is there at the foot of the chair. 

(Exit Jacqueline. Guillaume and Landry 
at the door-sill.} 

Guillaume. Hallo! Fortunio; M. Andre is 
calling you. 


Landry. There is some work upon your 
desk; what are you doing there, out of the office? 

Fortunio. Hey? I beg your pardon, what 
did you say? What do you want of me? 

Guillaume. We are telling you that our em- 
ployer is asking for you. 

Landry. Come here right away; you are 
wanted. What is the dreamer thinking about? 

Fortunio. Indeed, that is singular, and this 
adventure is very strange. 



(A Salon.) 

Clavaroche (before a glass). In all con- 
science, if a man were seriously in love with these 
fine dames, it would be a pretty affair, and the 
business of a gay Lothario is, on the whole, a 
ruinous employment. Sometimes, under the 
most favorable conditions, a valet scratches at 
the door and obliges you to sneak away. The 
woman who is losing her reputation for you only 
half surrenders herself, and in the midst of the 
most delightful transports thrusts you into some 
closet or other. Sometimes it is when a man is 
in his own quarters, stretched upon a sofa and 


tired out with the drill, that a messenger, des- 
patched in haste, comes to remind him that some- 
body a mile away is sighing for him. Quick 1 
a barber, the valet! You run, you fly; there's 
no time to lose; the husband has returned; it is 
raining; you must stand waiting for an hour. 
Think of being ill, or even out of sorts! Not 
a bit of it; heat, cold, tempest, uncertainty, dan- 
ger, all that tends to make you a jolly fellow. 
The difficulty is in possession, but these obstacles 
have the privilege of enhancing pleasure, and 
the north wind would be angry if, in cutting 
your face, it didn't believe it was giving you 
courage. In truth, love is represented with 
wings and a quiver; it would be better to paint 
him as a hunter of wild ducks, with an imper- 
vious jacket, and a wig of curled wool to shield 
the back of his head. What fools men are, to 
deny themselves their full meals to run after 
what, pray tell? After the shadow of their 
pride! But the garrison lasts six months; one 
can't always go to the cafe ; the comedians of the 
province bore one; you look at yourself in the 
glass, and you don't wish to be handsome for 
nothing. Jacqueline has a fine figure; and so 
you possess your soul in patience, and accom- 
modate yourself to circumstances without being 
too particular. (Enter Jacqueline.) Well, my 
dear, what have you been doing? Did you fol- 
low my advice, and are we out of danger? 


Jacqueline. Yes. 

Clavaroche. How did you manage it? Tell 
me all about it. Is it one of M. Andre's clerks 
who has charged himself with our salvation? 

Jacqueline. Yes. 

Clavaroche. You're a peerless woman, and 
nobody has more spirit than you. You had the 
young man come to your boudoir, I suppose. I 
imagine I can see him now, twirling his hat in 
his hands. But what story did you tell him in 
order to succeed so quickly? 

Jacqueline. The first that came to mind; I 
don't remember. 

Clavaroche. Just see how it is with us, and 
what poor devils we are, when it pleases you to 
pull the wool over our eyes! And our husband, 
how does he view the matter? Does the bolt 
which threatens us already feel the magnetic 
needle, and begin to turn? 

Jacqueline. Yes. 

Clavaroche. Zounds! we shall be amused, 
and it will be as good as a play to watch this 
comedy, to observe the attitudes and gestures, 
and play my own part in it. And the humble 
slave, if you please, since I saw you, is he al- 
ready in love with you? I'll bet I met him as 
I was coming in a business air and appearance 
about him. Is he already installed in his place, 
and does he acquit himself of his indispensable 
duties with some facility? Does he already wear 


your colors? Does he place the screen before 
the fire? Has he ventured a few timid words 
of love and respectful tenderness? Are you 
pleased with him? 

Jacqueline. Yes. 

Clavaroche. And, as a partial payment for 
future services, have these beautiful, bright, fiery 
eyes already allowed him to divine that he is 
permitted to sigh for them, and has he already 
obtained some favor? Come, frankly, how are 
you getting on? Have you exchanged looks, 
have you crossed swords? It is the least you 
can do to encourage him for the service which he 
is rendering us. 

Jacqueline. Yes. 

Clavaroche. What's the matter with you? 
You are pensive, and you answer in mono- 

Jacqueline. I have done what you told me to. 

Clavaroche. Have you any regret for it? 

Jacqueline. No. 

Clavaroche. But you have an anxious air, 
and something is troubling you. 

Jacqueline. No. 

Clavaroche. Do you see anything serious in 
this kind of pleasantry? Nonsense! there's no 
harm in it. 

Jacqueline. If people were to know what is 
going on, why should they say that I am wrong, 
and perhaps that you are right? 


Clavaroche. Nonsense! it's a game, it's a 
trifle. Don't you love me, Jacqueline? 

Jacqueline. Yes. 

Clavaroche. Very well, then! What do you 
care? Wasn't it to protect our love that you 
have done what you have? 

Jacqueline. Yes. 

Clavaroche. I assure you that it amuses me, 
and I am not so particular. 

Jacqueline. Hush! it is almost dinner time, 
and here comes M. Andre. 

Clavaroche. Is that our man who is with him ? 

Jacqueline. It is he. My husband invited 
him, and he is staying here this evening. 
(Enter M. Andre and Fortunio.) 

Andre. No, I don't wish to hear a word of 
business to-day. I wish every one to enjoy him- 
self and be merry. I am delighted, I am over- 
whelmed with joy, and I only intend to dine 

Clavaroche. Dear me! it seems to me that 
you are in a good humor, M. Andre. 

Andre. I must tell you all that happened to 
me yesterday. I suspected my wife unjustly; I 
had a trap set in front of my garden gate, and 
I found my cat in it this morning. It served 
me right, I deserved it. But I want to do justice 
to Jacqueline, and that you should learn from 
me that our peace is made and she has forgiven 


Jacqueline. All right; I bear no ill-will. 
Oblige me my saying no more about it. 

Andre. No, I want everybody to know it. I 
told it all over town, and I have brought 
home a little sugar Napoleon in my pocket; 
I am going to put it upon my mantelpiece in 
sign of reconciliation, and every time I look at 
it I shall love my wife a hundred times more 
for it. 

Clavaroche. That's acting like a worthy hus- 
band; I recognize that, M. Andre. 

Andre. Captain, I salute you. Will you 
take dinner with us? We are having a sort of 
a little merry-making here to-day, and you are 

Clavaroche. You pay me too much honor. 

Andre. Let me present to you a new guest; 
he is one of my clerks, Captain. Ha ! ha ! cedant 
arma toga? Let arms yield to the gown. It is 
not for the purpose of insulting you; the young 
rogue has some wit; he is making love to my 

Clavaroche. May I ask you your name, sir? 
I am deligMed to know you. 
(Fortunio bows.) 

Andre. Fortunio. It's a fortunate name. 
To tell the truth, he has been working in my 
office for almost a year, and I didn't observe all 
the merit that he has. I believe, indeed, that 
but for Jacqueline I should never have thought 


of it. His writing is not very neat ; and he does 
some things which are not exempt from re- 
proach; but my wife has need of him for some 
little matters, and she speaks very highly of his 
zeal. It is their secret; we husbands don't 
meddle with these things. An agreeable guest 
in a small city, is not a thing to be despised; 
therefore God grant that he be pleased here! 
We will receive him as well as possible. 

Fortunio. I shall do my best to be worthy. 

Andre (to Clavaroche). My work, as you 
know, keeps me busy during the week. I am 
not sorry to have Jacqueline amuse herself with- 
out me as she wishes to. She sometimes needs 
an arm to walk in the town; the doctor wants 
her to walk, and the open air is good for her. 
This young man knows what is going on; he 
reads aloud very well; he is, moreover, of good 
family, and his parents have brought him up 
well; he is a cavalier for my wife, and I ask 
your friendship for him. 

Clavaroche. My friendship, my dear M. 
Andre, is entirely at his service; it is something 
which has been acquired by you and of which 
you have the disposal. 

Fortunio. Captain Clavaroche is very kind; 
and I know not how to thank him. 

Clavaroche. Give me your hand ! The honor 
is mine, if you count me among your friends. 

Andre. Come, that's well said! Long live 


joy! Dinner is waiting for us; give your arm 
to Jacqueline, and come and taste my wine. 

Clavaroche (low to Jacqueline). M. Andre 
doesn't appear to me to look at things altogether 
as I expected. 

Jacqueline (low). His confidence and his 
jealousy depend upon a word and a breath of 

Clavaroche (the same). But that is not what 
you want. If things take this turn, we do not 
want your clerk. 

Jacqueline (the same). I did what you told 
me to. 



(Andre's office. Guillaume and Landry, 
working. ) 

Guillaume. It seems to me that Fortunio 
left the office very early. 

Landry. There's a party at the house this 
evening, and Andre invited him. 

Guillaume. Yes, so that the work remains 
for us. My right arm is paralyzed. 

Landry. And besides, he's only third clerk. 
He might have invited us too. 

Guillaume. After all, he is a good fellow; 
there's no great harm in that. 


Landry. No; neither would there have been 
if we had been invitd to the party. 

Guillaume. H'm, h'm! how good the cook- 
ing smells ! They're making a racket up there 
you can't hear yourself think. 

Landry. I think they're dancing ; I saw some 

Guillaume. To the devil with these papers! 
I sha'n't do anything more to-day. 

Landry. Do you know one thing? I have 
an idea that something mysterious is going on 
here ! 

Guillaume. Bah! What is it? 

Landry. Yes, yes. Everything isn't clear, 
and if I could gossip a little 

Guillaume. Have no fear; I will say noth- 
ing about it. 

Landry. You remember that I saw a man 
scale the window the other night. Who it was, 
nobody knew. But to-day, this very evening, 
I saw something, I am telling you, and what it 
was I know very well. 

Guillaume. What was it? Tell me about it. 

Landry. I saw Jacqueline, in the dusk of the 
evening, open the garden gate. A man was be- 
hind it, who stole along the wall, and who kissed 
her hand; after that he ran away, and I heard 
him say to her, " Never fear, I shall be back 

Guillaume. Indeed! That isn't possible. 


Landry. I saw him as plainly as I see you. 

Guillaume. Faith, if that was so, I know 
what I should do if I were in your place. I 
should report it to M. Andre, as you did before, 
nothing more nor less. 

Landry. That needs reflection. With a man 
like M. Andre, you take your chances. He 
changes his mind every morning. 

Guillaume. Do hear the racket they are mak- 
ing! Pish, how the doors slam! Clip-clap, the 
plates, the dishes, the knives and forks, the 
bottles! I believe I hear singing. 

Landry. Yes, it's the voice of M. Andre him- 
self. Poor simple soul! they will laugh well at 

Guillaume. Come and take a little walk; we 
can talk at our ease. Faith, when the master 
is enjoying himself, the least the clerks can do 
is to take a rest. 


(The dining-room. M. Andre, Clavaroche, 
Fortunio and Jacqueline, seated at the 
table. ) 

Clavaroche. Come, M. Fortunio, give ma- 
dame something to drink. 

Fortunio. With all my heart, Captain, and 
I drink to your health! 


Clavaroclie. For shame! you are not gallant. 
To the health of your neighbor. 

Andre. Ah, yes to the health of my wife. 
I am delighted, Captain, that you find this wine 
to your taste. 
(He sings.) 

Friends, drink, drink, without ceasing. . . . 

Clavaroche. That song is too old. Sing 
something, M. Fortunio. 

Fortunio. If madame wishes it. 

Andre. Ha, ha! the boy knows his audi- 
ence, i 

Jacqueline. Oh, yes! sing, if you please. 

Clavaroche. One moment. Before singing, 
eat a little of this cracker; that will clear your 
throat and give you the high notes. 

Andre. The Captain is joking. 

Fortunio. Thank you; that would choke me. 

Clavaroche. Nonsense ! Ask madame to give 
you a morsel. I am sure that from her fair 
hand it would appear easy enough to you. (He 
looks under the table.) O heavens! what do I 
see? Your feet upon the floor! Allow some- 
body to bring you a cushion, madame. 

Fortunio (rising). Here is one under this 

(He places it under Jacqueline's feet.) 

Clavaroche. That's right, M. Fortunio, I 
thought you were going to allow me to do it. 


A young man who is making love ought not to 
allow any one to anticipate him. 

Andre. Oh, ho! the boy will make his way 
in the world; you have only to give him a hint. 

Clavaroche. Now, then, sing, if you please; 
we are listening with all our ears. 

Fortunio. I don't dare to before such critics. 
I don't know any table songs. 

Clavaroche. Since madame has commanded 
it, you can't get out of it. 

Fortunio. I will do the best I can then. 

Clavaroche. Haven't you addressed any 
verses to madame yet, M. Fortunio? Come, the 
occasion presents itself. 

Andre. Silence! silence! Let him sing. 

Clavaroche. A love-song above all things 
isn't it so, M. Fortunio? Nothing else, I be- 
seech you. Madame, request him to sing us a 
love-song, if you please. I can't live without 

Jacqueline. I beg of you, Fortunio. 

Fortunio (sings). 

If you think that I would tell 

Whom to love I dare, 
No gift so great would me compel 

To name my lady fair. 

Join me in singing o'er and o'er 

This very sweet refrain: 
Long live the lady I adore, 

Blond as the ripened grain. 


I do what e'er her fancy wills, 

She only need command, 
And I'll bestow the love that thrills, 

Yea, life, with heart and hand. 

By the woe, which love confers, 

Where misery draws breath, 
My soul is true and nobly bears 

Its burden unto death. 

Ah, too well, I love to tell 

Who is my heart's desire, 
But rather than her name I'd spell, 

I'd willingly expire 

Andre. In truth, the sly dog is in love, as 
he says; he has tears in his eyes. Here, my boy, 
take a drink to recover yourself. It must be 
some pretty shop-girl of the town who has done 
you that ill turn. 

Clavaroche. I don't believe that M. For- 
tunio has such a vulgar ambition as that; his 
song is worthy of something better than a pretty 
shop-girl. What does madame say about it, and 
what is her opinion? 

Jacqueline. Very good! Give me your arm, 
and let us go and take some coffee. 

Clavaroche. Quick, M. Fortunio, offer your 
arm to madame. 

Jacqueline (takes Fortunio' s arm. Low, as 
she goes out) . Did you do my errand? 

Fortunio. Yes, madame; everything is in the 


Jacqueline. Go, and wait for me in my 
chamber; I will join you there presently. 

(Jacqueline's chamber. Fortunio enters.) 

Fortunio. How can there be any happier 
man than I ? I am certain that Jacqueline loves 
me, and by all the signs that she has given me, 
I can't be mistaken about it. Already I am 
received with open arms, entertained, petted in 
the house. She has seated me beside her at the 
table; if she goes for a walk, I go with her. 
What sweetness! what a voice! what a smile! 
When she fixes her gaze upon me, I don't know 
whether I am on my head or my feet; I am 
speechless with joy. I should fall upon her neck 
if I didn't restrain myself. No; . . . the 
more I think of it the more I consider it, the 
least signs, the slightest favors, all is certain; 
she loves me, she loves me, and I should be a 
downright fool if I were to pretend not to see 
it. When I was singing just now, how I saw 
her eyes shine! Come, lose no time. Place here 
this box which contains some jewels; it is a 
private commission; and surely, Jacqueline will 
not be long in coming. 
(Enter Jacqueline.) 


Jacqueline. Are you there, Fortimio? 

Fortunio. Yes. Here is your box of jewels, 
madame, the one you wanted me to get for you. 

Jacqueline. You are a man of your word, 
and I am delighted with you. 

Fortunio. How can I tell you how I feel? 
A look from your eyes has changed my fate, and 
I live only to serve you. 

Jacqueline. That was a pretty song that you 
sang for us at table just now. For whom was 
it composed? Will you give me a copy of it? 

Fortunio. It was composed for you, ma- 
dame. I am dying of love, and my life is in your 

(He drops upon his knees.) 

Jacqueline. Indeed ! I thought that your re- 
frain forbade your saying whom you love. 

Fortunio. Ah, Jacqueline, have pity upon 
me. My suffering does not date from yester- 
day. For two years have I followed the trace 
of your footsteps through these walks. For two 
years, without your ever having known of my 
existence perhaps, you have never gone out or 
in, your light and trembling shadow has not ap- 
peared behind your curtains, you have not 
opened your window, you have not breathed a 
breath of air, that I was not there, that I have 
not seen you. I could not approach you, but 
your beauty, thank God, belonged to me as the 
sunshine belongs to us all ; I sought it, I breathed 


it, I lived upon the shadow of your life. Did 
you pass the morning at the garden gate, I re- 
turned there in the evening to weep. A few 
words dropped from your lips, if they came to 
my ears, were repeated by me the livelong day. 
Did you cultivate flowers, my chamber was filled 
with them. Did you sing at the piano of an 
evening, I knew your romances by heart. All 
that you loved, I loved; I was intoxicated by 
whatever passed your lips or entered your mind. 
Alas ! I see that you smile. God knows that my 
suffering is real, and that I love you to death! 

Jacqueline. I am not smiling because I hear 
you say that you have loved me for two years, 
but I am smiling because of what I think, that 
it will be two days to-morrow. 

Fortunio. May I die if truth is not as dear 
to me as my love, and if it is not two years that 
I have existed only for you. 

Jacqueline. Get up right away. If anybody 
were to come, what would they think of me? 

Fortunio. No, I won't get up I won't leave 
this position, if you won't believe my words. If 
you reject my love, at least do not doubt of it. 

Jacqueline. Is this some enterprise that you 
are engaged in? 

Fortunio. An enterprise full of fear, full of 
misery and of hope. I do not know whether 
I am dead or alive; how I have dared to speak 
to you, I do not know. I have lost my reason. 


I love, I suffer; you must know it, you must see 
it, you must pity me ! 

Jacqueline. Is this bad, obstinate child going 
to remain there an hour? Come, get up; I 
wish it. 

Fortunio. Do you believe that I love you? 

Jacqueline. No, I do not believe it; this 
makes me less ready to believe it. 

Fortunio. It's impossible! you can't doubt it. 

Jacqueline. Bah, one doesn't get on so fast 
at three words of gallantry. 

Fortunio. For God's sake, just look at me! 
Who could have taught me deception? I am 
nothing but a child, and I have never been in 
love with anybody in my life, if it isn't with 
you who are ignorant of it. 

Jacqueline. You make love to pretty shop- 
girls. I know it as well as if I had seen it. 

Fortunio. You are jesting. Who could 
have told you such a thing? 

Jacqueline. Yes, yes; you go to dances and 

Fortunio. With my friends, of a Sunday. 
What harm is there in that? 

Jacqueline. I said as much to you yesterday, 
that is easily accounted for. You are young, 
and at the age when the heart is light one doesn't 
count the cost. 

Fortunio. What can I do to convince you? 
Tell me, I beseech you. 


Jacqueline. You want a pretty counsellor. 
Very well, you must prove it. 

Fortunio. Good heavens! I have only tears. 
Do tears prove that one loves? What! you see 
me on my knees before you ; my heart is ready to 
burst; the thing that has cast me at your feet is 
a sorrow which is crushing me, that I have strug- 
gled against for two years, that I can no longer 
bear, and you remain cold and incredulous ! Can 
I not impart to you a single spark of the fire 
which is consuming me? You even deny that I 
am suffering, when I am ready to die before 
your eyes? Ah, it is more cruel than a refusal! 
It is more terrible than contempt! Indifference 
itself might believe, and I have not deserved this. 

Jacqueline. Get up somebody is coming! 
I believe you, I love you. Go down by the back 
staircase; return to the parlor; I will be there. 

Fortunio (alone). She loves me! Jacqueline 
loves me ! She goes away, she leaves me like this ! 
No, I can't go down yet. Hush! somebody is 
coming; somebody has stopped her; they are 
coming here. I must hurry out of here ! 
(He raises the portiere.) 

Ah, the door is locked on the outside; I can't 
get out. What shall I do? If I go out the other 
way, I shall run against whoever is coming. 

Clavaroche (outside). Come on; come for a 
little while, 


Fortunio. It's the Captain who is coming up 
with her. I must hide myself quickly, and wait ; 
they mustn't find me here. 

(He hides himself in the depths of the 
alcove. Enter Clavaroche and Jacque- 
line. ) 

Clavaroche (throwing himself upon a sofa). 
Zounds! Madame, I have been looking for you 
everywhere. What were you doing all by your- 

Jacqueline (aside). Praise God, Fortunio 
has gone! 

Clavaroche. You leave me in a situation 
which bores me to death. What use have I for 
Andre, if you please? And really you leave us 
together when the convivial wine of the husband 
would render more acceptable the agreeable con- 
versation of the wife. 

Fortunio (concealed). This is singular. 
What does this mean? 

Clavaroche (opening the jewel { box upon the 
table) . Let us see. Are these rings? And what 
are you going to do with them, pray tell? Are 
you making somebody a present? 

Jacqueline. You know very well it is a part 
of our little ruse. 

Clavaroche. But, my conscience, what a lot 
of money! If you count upon using the same 
stratagem every day, our game will end pres- 
ently by not being worth while ... By the by, 


how that dinner amused me, and what a curious 
appearance our young initiate has ! 

Fortunio (concealed). Initiate! What mys- 
tery is this? Can it be I that he is talking about? 

Clavaroche. The chain is beautiful; it's a lit- 
tle gem. That was a singular idea of yours. 

Fortunio (concealed). Ah, it seems that he 
is also in Jacqueline's confidence! 

Clavaroche. How the poor boy trembled 
when he raised his glass! How he entertained 
me with his cushions, and what fun it was to 
watch him! 

Fortunio (concealed). Surely, it is I that he 
is talking about, and it's the dinner of a little 
while ago that's in question. 

Clavaroche. I suppose you will return this to 
the jeweler who furnished it? 

Fortunio (concealed). Return the chain! 
What for? 

Clavaroche. His song delighted me espe- 
cially, and M. Andre particularly noticed that; 
I'll be blessed if he didn't actually have tears in 
his eyes over it! 

Fortunio (concealed) . I can't yet believe my 
ears. Is this a dream? Am I awake? What 
kind of a fellow is this Clavaroche? 

Clavaroche. However, it is useless to carry 
the thing any further. What's the use of a 
troublesome third party, if suspicions are no 
longer aroused? These husbands never fail to 


adore their wives' lovers. You see what has hap- 
pened! From the moment you are trusted you 
must get rid of the chandler. 

Jacqueline. Who knows what may happen? 
With a man like that there is never anything 
sure, and it is necessary to keep some means at 
hand for getting out of a scrape. 

Fortunio (concealed). If they are making a 
cat's-paw of me, it can't be without a motive. 
All these speeches are enigmas. 

Clavaroche. It's my advice to get rid of him. 

Jacqueline. Just as you please. It is not my- 
self that I am consulting in this affair. If 
wrong-doing were necessary, do you think it 
would be from my choice? But who knows if 
to-morrow this evening in an hour some ill 
wind won't arise? We can't count upon the calm 
with too much security. 

Clavaroche. Do you think so? 

Fortunio (concealed). Good heavens! he's 
her paramour. 

Clavaroche. However, do whatever you like 
about it. Without altogether ousting the young 
man, you might keep him in working order, but 
at a little distance, and put him into leading- 
strings. If M. Andre's suspicions were ever 
aroused again, well and good! In that case you 
would have your M. Fortunio at hand to divert 
them anew. I take him for an easy prey; he 
readily rises to bait. 


Jacqueline. I thought somebody moved. 
Clavaroche. Yes, I thought I heard a sigh. 
Jacqueline. Probably it was Madelon; she is 
putting the study to rights. 



(The garden. Enter Jacqueline and 
the Servant.) 

The Servant. Madame, a danger is menacing 
you. As I was in the arbor just now, I heard 
M. Andre talking with one of his clerks. As 
nearly as I could make out, it pertained to some 
ambush which would take place to-night. 

Jacqueline. An ambush! Where? For what 

The Servant. In the office. The clerk as- 
serted that he saw you, yourself, madame, and 
a man with you, in the garden. M. Andre swore 
by all that is good and holy that he would take 
you by surprise and have you prosecuted. 

Jacqueline. Aren't you mistaken, Madelon? 

The Servant. Madame will do as she sees fit. 
I haven't the honor of her confidences; that 
doesn't prevent a person from rendering a serv- 
ice. My work is waiting for me. 

Jacqueline. That's right, and you may rest 


assured that I shall not be ungrateful. Have 
you seen Fortunio this morning? Where is he? 
I want to speak to him. 

The Servant. He hasn't come to the office; 
the gardener has seen him, I believe ; but they are 
at a loss to know what has become of him, and 
they were looking for him all over the garden 
a while ago. Look! there is M. Guillaume, the 
head clerk, looking for him again; don't you see 
him going along there? 

Guillaume (behind the scenes). Hallo! For- 
tunio! Fortunio! hallo! Where are you? 

Jacqueline. Go, Madelon, try to find him. 
(Exit Madelon. Enter Clavaroche.) 

Clavaroche. What the devil is going on here ? 
How is this! I, who have some claims, I think, 
to M. Andre's friendship, meet him, and he 
doesn't greet me; the clerks look at me askance, 
and I don't know but even the dog wanted to 
grab me by the heel. What has happened, if you 
please, and what's the reason for their abusing 

Jacqueline. It's no joking matter. Just 
what I have expected has come to pass, and seri- 
ously this time; it is no longer time for words, 
but for action. 

Clavaroche. For action! What do you 

Jacqueline. That these pesky clerks are play- 
ing the spy; that we have been seen; that Andre 


knows it; that he intends to hide himself in the 
office, and that we are running the gravest 

Clavaroche. Is that all that's troubling you? 

Jacqueline. Certainly; what would you want 
worse? That we shall escape them to-day, since 
we are warned, is not the difficulty; but the mo- 
ment that Andre acts on the quiet, we have 
everything to fear from him. 

Clavaroche. Really! that is all there is to the 
affair, and there isn't anything worse than that? 

Jacqueline. Are you crazy? How is it pos- 
sible for you to joke about it? 

Clavaroche. Because there is nothing so sim- 
ple as for us to get out of the scrape. M. Andre, 
you say, is furious? Well, let him bluster; what 
inconvenience? He wants to put himself in am- 
bush? Let him do so; nothing could be better. 
Are the clerks of the party? Let them be, with all 
the town, if it amuses them. They wish to sur- 
prise the beautiful Jacqueline and her very hum- 
ble servant! Ah, let them surprise; I have no 
objections. What do you see in that to trou- 
ble us? 

Jacqueline. I can't understand anything 
you're talking about. 

Clavaroche. Have Forttmio called for me. 
Where has that fine gentleman hidden his head? 
What! we are in danger, and the scamp aban- 
dons us! Come, notify him. 


Jacqueline. I thought about that. Nobody 
knows where he is, and he has not appeared this 

Clavaroche. Nonsense! that's impossible. 
He must be somewhere around, not far from 
your petticoats; you have forgotten him in some 
closet, and your maid has inadvertently hung 
him up upon a clothes-hook. 

Jacqueline. But, after all, in what way 
could he be of use to us? I asked where he was 
without knowing just why myself. I don't see, 
upon reflection, what good he can be to us. 

Clavaroche. Hey! Don't you see that I am 
preparing myself to make to him the greatest of 
sacrifices no less a matter than to cede to him 
for this evening all the privileges of love? 

Jacqueline. For this evening? And for what 

Clavaroche. For the positive and express 
purpose that worthy M. Andre may not uselessly 
pass a night in the open air. You wouldn't wish 
for these poor clerks, who are going to render 
good for evil, to find nobody at hand ? For shame ! 
we mustn't allow these good people to remain 
empty-handed; we must send them somebody. 

Jacqueline. That shall not be done. Find 
something else; that is a horrible idea of yours, 
and I can't consent to it. 

Clavaroche. Why horrible? Nothing is more 
harmless. You write a word to Fortunio, if you 


can't find him yourself; for the least little word 
in the world is better than the longest book. You 
have him come this evening, under pretext of a 
rendezvous. He comes; the clerks take him by 
surprise, and M. Andre seizes him by the collar, 
What is your pleasure concerning him? There- 
upon you go down in dishabille, and demand 
why they are making such a noise, the most nat- 
urally in the w r orld. They explain it to you. M. 
Andre, in furor, demands of you in turn why his 
young clerk crawls into his garden. You blush 
a little at first, then you openly confess all that 
it pleases you to confess: that this boy visits the 
shop for you; that he brings parcels for you 
secretly; in short, the truth pure and simple. 
What is so terrifying in that? 

Jacqueline. They wouldn't believe me. A 
pretty likelihood that I should grant clandestine 
meetings to settle accounts. 

Clavaroche. People always believe the truth. 
Truth has a ring impossible not to recognize, and 
high-born natures are never deceived by it. Is 
it not, in truth, for your commissions that you 
employ this young man? 

Jacqueline. Yes. 

. Clavaroche. Well, then! since you do that, 
you can say so, and they will see it plainly 
enough. Let him have the proof in his pocket, a 
jewel box, like yesterday; the first thing at hand 
will suffice. Consider that, if we don't employ 


this means, we shall be bothered for the whole 
year. M. Andre will spy on us to-night, to- 
morrow night, and so on until he discovers us. 
The less he finds, the more he will search; but 
let him find something once for all, and we are 
free of it. 

Jacqueline. That is impossible ! It isn't to be 
thought of. 

Clavaroche. A secret meeting in a garden, 
moreover, is no great sin, strictly speaking. If 
you fear the air, you have only to stay in your 
room. They will find nobody but the young 
man, and he will get out of the scrape some way. 
It would be ridiculous if a woman couldn't prove 
that she is innocent when she is. Come, your 
writing tablet, and here is a pencil for you. 

Jacqueline. You don't mean it, Clavaroche! 
This is a wilful injury that you are doing. 

Clavaroche (presenting her with pencil and 
paper). Now write, if you please: "At mid- 
night, to-night, in the garden." 

Jacqueline. It is sending that child into a 
trap; it is delivering him to the enemy. 

Clavaroche. Don't sign it; it's useless. (He 
takes the paper.) Frankly, my dear, the night 
will be cool, and you had better remain in your 
room. Let the young man take his walk by him- 
self, and profit by his experience. I think, like 
you, that one would have difficulty in believing 
that it is on account of your merchants that he 


comes. You would do better, if anybody ques- 
tions you, to say that you are ignorant of every- 
thing, and that you will have nothing to do with 
the matter. 

Jacqueline. This specimen of my handwrit- 
ing will be a proof. 

Clavarocke. Tush ! do you think that we men 
of courage ever show a husband any of his wife's 
writing? What would we gain by it? Should 
we be less culpable if a crime were to be shared? 
Moreover, you know that your hand doubtless 
trembled a little, and the handwriting is almost 
disguised. Nonsense! I am going to give this 
letter to the gardener; Fortunio will have it 
directly. Come along; the vultures have their 
prey, and the bird of Venus, the pale turtle-dove, 
may sleep peacefully upon her nest. 

(A beech grove.) 

Fortunio (alone, seated upon the grass). To 
cause a young man to fall in love with her, for 
the sole purpose of diverting suspicions to him 
which have fallen upon another; to lead him to 
believe that she loves him, to tell him so in case 
of need; to disturb, perhaps, many tranquil 
nights ; to fill with doubt and hope a heart young 


and willing to suffer; to cast a stone into a lake 
which has never before had a ripple upon its sur- 
face ; to expose a man to suspicion, to all the dan- 
gers of blissful love, and yet accord him noth- 
ing; to remain unmoved and lifeless in an act 
of life and death ; to deceive, to lie to lie heart- 
lessly ; to make her person an enticement ; to trifle 
with everything sacred under the heavens, like 
a thief with loaded dice these are the things 
that make a woman smile! these are the things 
she does, with a little air of abstraction. (He 
rises.) It is your first experience, Fortunio, in 
the apprenticeship of the world. Think, reflect, 
compare, examine, do not judge hastily. That 
woman there has a lover whom she adores ; she is 
suspected, tormented, threatened; she is fright- 
ened; she is about to lose the man who fills her 
life, who is more to her than all the world. Her 
husband is suddenly aroused, warned by a spy; 
he awakens her; he wants to drag her to a court 
of justice. Her family will disown her, an entire 
community will condemn her; her character is 
ruined and dishonored, and yet she loves and can 
not cease from loving. She must save the sole 
object of her solicitude, of her anguish, and of 
her distress; she must love in order to continue 
to live, and she must deceive in order to love. 
She leans upon her window-sill ; she sees a young 
man down below; who is it? She doesn't know 
him; she has never seen his face; is he good, or 


wicked; is he discreet, or treacherous; tender- 
hearted, or thoughtless? She knows nothing 
about him; she has need of him; she calls him; 
she signals to him ; she adds a flower to her adorn- 
ment; she speaks; she has staked the happiness 
of her life upon a card, and she plays at rouge et 
noir. If she had but addressed herself to Guil- 
laume instead of me, what would have come of 
it ? Guillaume is a good fellow, but he has never 
perceived that his heart serves him for any other 
purpose than beating. Guillaume would have 
been delighted to go and dine with his employer, 
to be seated beside Jacqueline at table, just as I 
was delighted myself; but he would have seen 
nothing further in it; he would have fallen in 
love only with M. Andre's wine-cellar; he would 
not have thrown himself upon his knees; he 
would not have listened at the doors; it would 
have been for him all profit. What harm would 
there have been, then, for her to use him without 
his knowledge, to divert the suspicions of a hus- 
band? None whatever. He would have peace- 
fully played the part that was required of him; 
he would have lived happily, tranquilly, ten years 
without ever perceiving it. Jacqueline also 
would have been happy, tranquil, ten years with- 
out saying a word to him. She would have flirted 
with him, and he would have responded to her; 
but no harm would have come of it. Everything 
would have gone on capitally, and nobody need 


to have worried over the day when murder would 

(He sits down again.) 

Why did she address herself to me? Was she 
aware that I loved her? Why to me rather than 
to Guillaume? Was it chance, or was it calcula- 
tion? Perhaps deep down in her heart she sus- 
pected that I was not indifferent. Could she 
have seen me at that window? Had she ever 
turned of an evening, when I was observing her 
in the garden? But if she knew that I loved her, 
why then? Because that love rendered her proj- 
ect easier, and I was going at the first word to 
fall into the trap that she was setting for me. 
My love was only a lucky circumstance; she saw 
nothing in it but an opportunity. Is that alto- 
gether certain? Isn't there anything besides 
that? What! she sees that I am suffering, and 
she thinks only of profiting by it! What! she 
finds me upon her footsteps, love in my heart, 
desire in my eyes, young and ardent, ready to 
die for her, and when, seeing me at her feet, she 
smiles upon me and tells me that she loves me, 
it is a cold-blooded calculation, and nothing 
more! Nothing of truth in that smile, in that 
hand which agitates mine, in the sound of the 
voice which intoxicates me? O God! if that be 
so, with what a monster am I dealing, and into 
what an abyss have I fallen. (He rises.) No; 
so much horror isn't possible ! No ; a woman can 


not be a malignant statue, at the same time alive 
and frozen ! No ; if I were to see it with my own 
eyes, if I were to hear it from her own lips, I 
should never believe in any such a thing as that. 
No ; when she smiled upon me, it wasn't because 
she loved me, but she smiled to see that I loved 
her. When she gave me her hand, she didn't 
give me her heart, but she allowed me to give 
mine. When she said to me, " I love you," she 
meant to say, " Love me." No, Jacqueline is not 
wicked; there is nothing of calculation or cold- 
ness about her. She lies, she deceives, she is a 
woman; she is coquettish, addicted to raillery, 
joyous, audacious, but not base, not heartless. 
Ah, fool that you are, you love her ! you love her ! 
You implore, you weep, and she laughs at you! 
(Enter Madelon.) 

Madelon. Ah, thank heavens! I have found 
you at last. Madame is asking for you; she is 
in her chamber. Come right away; she is wait- 
ing for you. 

Fortunio. Do you know what she wants of 
me? I can't go just now. 

Madelon. Have you some business with the 
trees? She is greatly troubled go! The whole 
household is up in arms. 

The Gardener (entering) . Here you are, sir. 
I have been looking for you everywhere. There 
is a note for you, which our mistress gave me a 
while ago. 


Fortunio (reading). "At midnight, to- 
night, in the garden." (Aloud.) Is this from 

The Gardener. Yes, sir. Is there any reply 
to it? 

Guillaume (entering). What are you doing, 
Fortunio? You are wanted in the office. 

Fortunio. I'm coming I'm coming. (Low 
to Madelon.) What was it you were saying just 
now? What trouble is your mistress in? 

Madelon (low). It's a secret. M. Andre is 

Fortunio (the same). He is angry? What 

Madelon (the same). He has taken it into 
his head that madame was receiving somebody 
on the sly. You won't say anything about it, 
will you? He is going to hide himself to-night 
in the office. It is I who discovered that, and if 
I tell it to you well, it's because I think that 
you are not unconcerned in it. 

Fortunio. Why hide himself in the office? 

Madelon. To discover everything and sue 
for a divorce. 

Fortunio. Indeed! is it possible? 

The Gardener. Is there any reply, sir? 

Fortunio. I am going to see her myself. 
Come, let us go. 


(A chamber. Jacqueline.) 

Jacqueline (alone). No, that must not be 
done. Who knows what a man like Andre, once 
driven to violence, might invent to be revenged? 
I shall not send that young man into such a 
frightful danger. That Clavaroche is pitiless; 
everything is a battle-field to him, and he hasn't 
any mercy for anything or anybody. What's 
the use of exposing Fortunio, since there is noth- 
ing so simple as not to expose him, or anybody 
else. I believe that every suspicion would be 
banished by this means, but the means itself is an 
injury, and I won't employ it. No, that pains 
and displeases me. I don't wish that boy to 
be abused; since he says that he loves me, well 
and good I have no objection; I don't return 
evil for good. (Enter Fortunio.) Did you re- 
ceive a note from me, and have you read it? 

Fortunio. I did receive it, and I have read it. 
I am at your service. 

Jacqueline. It isn't necessary. I have 
changed my mind. Tear up the note, and say 
no more about it. 

Fortunio. Can I be of any other service to 

Jacqueline (aside). It is strange he doesn't 


insist. (Aloud.) No, indeed, I have no need of 
you. I asked you for your song. 

Fortunio. Here it is. Is that all? 

Jacqueline. Yes I think so. What's the 
matter with you? It seems to me that you are 

Fortunio. If you don't need me, madame, 
permit me to withdraw. 

Jacqueline. I like this song very much ; it has 
a little artless air which is in keeping with you, 
and you have composed it very well. 

Fortunio. You are very kind. 

Jacqueline. Yes, you see, at first I had an 
idea of having you come; but then I reflected it 
would be madness; I listened to you too readily. 
Sit down at the piano, and sing your little song 
for me. 

Fortunio. Excuse me, I can not now. 

Jacqueline. Why not? Are you suffering, 
or is it a naughty whim? I have a good mind to 
make you sing whether you want to or not. 
Haven't I some right of proprietorship over this 
sheet of paper? (She places the song upon the 

Fortunio. It isn't because of unwillingness. 
I can't stay any longer, and M. Andre needs me. 

Jacqueline. I don't care if you may be scold- 
ed ; sit down there and sing. 

Fortunio. If you exact it, I obey. (He sits 


Jacqueline. Well, what are you thinking 
about? Are you waiting for somebody to come? 

Fortunio. I am suffering. Do not detain me. 

Jacqueline. Sing first; we will see afterward 
if you are suffering, and whether I will detain 
you or not. Sing, I tell you; I want you to. 
Won't you sing? Well, what's the reason? 
Come, let me see. If you will sing, I will give 
you a penny. 

Fortunio. See here, Jacqueline listen to 
me. You would have done better to tell me all 
about it, and I would have consented to every- 

Jacqueline. What do you mean? What are 
you talking about? 

Fortunio. Yes, you would have done better 
to tell me. Yes, I swear it, I would have done 
everything for you! 

Jacqueline. Done everything for me? What 
do you mean by that? 

Fortunio. Ah, Jacqueline, Jacqueline, you 
must love him very much! It must cost you 
something to lie to me and mock me so unmerci- 

Jacqueline. I mock you? Who told you so? 

Fortunio. Don't lie any more, I beg of you; 
this will do. I know everything. 

Jacqueline. In short, what do you know? 

Fortunio. I was in your chamber yesterday 
when Clavaroche was there. 


Jacqueline. Is it possible? Were you in the 

Fortunio. Yes, I was there; for heaven's 
sake, don't say a word about it. (A silence.) 

Jacqueline. Since you know everything, sir, 
it only remains for me now to beg you to be 
silent. I am too well aware of my wrongs toward 
you to wish even to make the attempt of soften- 
ing them in your eyes. That which necessity 
compels, and that to which it might lead, another 
than you might perhaps understand, and would 
be able, if not to forgive, at least to excuse my 
conduct ; but you are, unfortunately, a party too 
much interested to judge of it with indulgence. 
I am resigned, and I await your pleasure. 

Fortunio. Have no kind of fear whatever. 
If I were to do anything which could injure you 
in the least, I would cut off my right hand. 

Jacqueline. Your word is sufficient, and I 
have no right to doubt it. I should say, even, 
that if you were to forget it, I should have still 
less right to complain of it. My imprudence 
ought to bear the penalty. It was without know- 
ing you, sir, that I addressed myself to you. If 
that circumstance renders my fault less, it ren- 
ders my danger greater. Since I have exposed 
myself to it, treat me as you think fit. It might 
be worth while to explain some words exchanged 
yesterday. Not being able to justify everything, 
I would rather keep silent about all. Let me be- 


lieve that your pride is the only thing injured. 
If that is so, it will be forgotten in two days; 
later on we will speak of it again. 

Fortunio. Never; it is the wish of my heart. 

Jacqueline. As you like; I must obey. If 
I am not to see you again, however, I should 
have one word to add. Between you and me, I 
have no fear, since you have promised me to be 
silent; but there exists another person whose 
presence in this house might have unpleasant 

Fortunio. I have nothing to say on that 

Jacqueline. I demand of you to listen to me. 
A clash between you and him you must feel it 
would be my ruin. I will do anything to pre- 
vent it. Whatever you exact, I submit to it with- 
out a murmur. Do not leave me without re- 
flecting upon it; dictate the conditions yourself. 
Must the person of whom I speak keep away 
from here for a time? Is it necessary for him to 
offer you an apology? Whatever you shall 
judge suitable will be received by me as a favor, 
and by him as a duty. The recollection of cer- 
tain pleasantries obliges me to interrogate you 
upon this point. What do you decide? Answer 

Fortunio. I exact nothing. You love him; 
be at rest so long as he loves you. 

Jacqueline. I thank you for these two prom- 


ises. If you should ever repent of them, I repeat 
that every condition imposed by you will be met. 
Count upon my gratitude. May I from now on 
repair my wrongs in any other way? Is there 
any means of obliging you at my disposal? 
What though you will not believe me, I declare 
to you that I would do everything in the world 
to leave with you a less disadvantageous memory 
of me. What can I do? I am at your orders. 

Fortunio. Nothing. Farewell, madame. 
Have no fear; you will never have to complain 
concerning me. (He starts to leave, and takes 
his song.) 

Jacqueline. Ah, Fortunio, leave me that. 

Fortunio. What would you do with it, cruel 
creature that you are? You have been talking 
to me for a quarter of an hour, and not one kind 
word has fallen from your lips. The question 
in point pertains to your excuses, to sacrifices 
and reparations, to your Clavaroche and his 
senseless vanity, to my pride ! Do you think that 
you have wounded it? Do you believe that the 
thing which troubles me is to have been taken 
for a dupe, and made sport of at a dinner? I 
simply remember nothing about that. When I 
tell you that I love you, do you believe that I do 
not feel it? When I talk to you of two years of 
suffering, do you think that I am doing as you 
do? What! you break my heart; you pretend 
that you repent of it, and this is the way that 


you forsake me! Necessity, you say, made you 
commit a fault, and you are sorry for it ; you are 
blushing; you turn away your head; my suffer- 
ing excites your pity; you see me, you under- 
stand your act ; and this is the way that you heal 
the wound that you have made ! Ah, it is of the 
heart, Jacqueline, and you have only to stretch 
out your hand. I swear to you, if you had but 
wished it, as shameful as it is to say it, although 
you will laugh at it yourself, I was capable of 
consenting to everything. O God! my strength 
is failing me; I can not go away from here. (He 
leans upon a table.) 

Jacqueline. Poor boy! I am to blame. Here, 
breathe this vial. 

Fortunio. Ah, keep them, keep them for 
him, these attentions of which I am unworthy; 
it isn't for me that they are made. I haven't an 
inventive mind; I am neither felicitous nor 
clever; I can not, upon occasion, invent a pro- 
found stratagem. Fool that I am! I thought 
that I was loved; because you smiled upon me; 
because your hand trembled in mine; because 
your eyes appeared to seek my eyes and to invite 
me like two angels to a feast of joy and life; be- 
cause your lips were parted, and a heavenly 
sound fell from them. Yes, I confess I have 
been dreaming. I thought that it was thus a 
person loved! What a calamity! Was it at a 
parade that your smile felicitated me upon the 


beauty of my horse? Was it the sunlight dart- 
ing across my helmet which dazzled your eyes? 
I came from a dark room, whence I had followed 
for two years your walks along a foot-path. I 
was a poor clerk who had taken it upon himself 
to weep in silence. That was a fine thing for 
anybody to love! 

Jacqueline. Poor boy! 

Fortunio. Yes, poor boy! Say it again, for 
I don't know whether I am awake or dreaming, 
and, after all, whether you don't love me. Since 
yesterday I have been idle; I have been ponder- 
ing; I recall what I saw with my eyes, what I 
heard with my ears, and I demand of myself if 
it is possible. What have I ever done to you, 
Jacqueline? How can it be possible, without 
any motive, without having for me either love 
or hatred, without knowing me, without ever 
having seen me how can it be possible that you, 
whom everybody loves, whom I have seen dis- 
pensing charities and watering these flowers here, 
who are good, who believe in God, to whom 
never . . . Ah ! I am accusing you, you whom 
I love more than my life! O heavens! have I 
reproached you? Jacqueline, forgive me! 

Jacqueline. Calm yourself; come, calm your- 

Fortunio. And what am I good for, great 
God ! if it isn't to give my life to you if it isn't 
for the most paltry use which you wish to make 


of me if it isn't to follow you, to protect you, 
to ward off evil from you? I dare to complain, 
and you had chosen me! My place was at your 
table; I was of some account to you. You were 
saying to all the world, to these gardens, these 
meadows, to smile upon me as you were doing; 
your beautiful and radiant image was beginning 
to walk before me, and I followed it; I was be- 
ginning to live . . . Do I have to lose you, 
Jacqueline? Have I done anything that you 
should dismiss me? Why won't you still pretend 
to love me? (He falls in a faint.) 

Jacqueline (running to him) . My God! what 
have I done? Fortunio, come to yourself again. 

Fortunio. Who are you? Let me go. 

Jacqueline. Lean upon me. Come to the 
window; for mercy's sake; lean upon me; place 
this arm upon my shoulder, I beg of you, For- 

Fortunio. It's nothing. I am all right again. 

Jacqueline. How pale he is! how his heart 
beats! Won't you bathe your temples? Take 
this cushion take this handkerchief. Am I so 
odious to you that you refuse me that? 

Fortunio. I am feeling better, thank you. 

Jacqueline. How cold his hands are ! Where 
are you going? You can not go yet. Wait at 
least a little while. Since I have been the cause 
of your suffering so much, let me, at least, care 
for you. 


Fortunio. It isn't necessary. I must go 
down. Forgive me for whatever I may have 
said to you ; I was not master of my words. 

Jacqueline. What do you wish me to forgive 
you? Alas! it is you who do not forgive. But 
what is your hurry? Why do you leave me? 
Your eyes are looking for something. Don't 
3 r ou recognize me? Keep quiet, I beseech of you. 
For my sake, Fortunio, you mustn't go yet. 

Fortunio. No. Farewell I can't stay. 

Jacqueline. I have hurt you very much. 

Fortunio. They were asking for me when I 
came up here. Farewell, madame; rely upon 

Jacqueline. Shall I see you again? 

Fortunio. If you wish to. 

Jacqueline. Are you coming to the parlor 
this evening? 

Fortunio. If you wish to have me. 

Jacqueline. You are going, then? Wait a 
little longer. 

Fortunio. Farewell! farewell! I can not 


Jacqueline (calls). Fortunio, listen to me. 

Fortunio (reentering) . What do you want 
of me, Jacqueline? 

Jacqueline. Listen to me; I must speak to 
you. I don't want to beg your pardon; I don't 
want to take anything back; I don't want to 


justify myself. You are good, brave, and sin- 
cere; I have been false and disloyal. I don't 
want to leave you thus. 

Fortunio. I forgive you with all my heart. 

Jacqueline. No, you are suffering; the 
harm is done. Where are you going? What 
are you going to do? How is it possible, know- 
ing everything, that you should have come here 

Fortunio. You sent for me. 

Jacqueline. But you came to tell me that I 
should see you at this rendezvous. Would you 
have been there? 

Fortunio. Yes, if it were to render you a 
service, and I confess to you that I believed it. 

Jacqueline. Why to render me a service? 

Fortunio. Madelon said a few words . . . 

Jacqueline. You knew it, unhappy man, and 
you were coming to the garden I 

Fortunio. The first word I ever said to you 
in my life was that I would willingly die for 
you, and the second was that I never lied. 

Jacqueline. You knew it, and you were com- 
ing? Do you dream of what you are saying? 
It was a question of an ambush. 

Fortunio. I knew everything. 

Jacqueline. It was a question of being sur- 
prised, of being killed perhaps, dragged into 
prison; what do I know? It is too horrible to 


Fortunio. I knew everything. 

Jacqueline. You knew all about it you 
knew everything? You were hidden there yes- 
terday, in that alcove, behind the curtain. You 
listened, didn't you? You knew all about that, 
didn't you? 

Fortunio. Yes. 

Jacqueline. You know that I lie, that I am 
deceitful, that I am sporting with you, and that 
I am killing you? You know that I love Clava- 
roche, and that he makes me do whatever he 
pleases; that I am playing a comedy; that there, 
yesterday, I took you for a dupe; that I am 
cowardly and despicable; that I am exposing 
you to death for my pleasure you knew all 
this; you were sure of it? Very well, very well 
. . . what do you know now ? 

Fortunio. But, Jacqueline, I believe . . ... 
I know . 

Jacqueline. Do you know that I love you, 
child that you are; that you must pardon me, or 
I shall die ; and that I demand it of you upon my 



(The dining-room. Andre, Clavaroche, For- 
tunio, and Jacqueline at table.) 

Andre. Heaven be praised! here we all are, 
all happy, all reunited, and all friends. If I 
ever doubt my wife again, may my wine poison 

Jacqueline. Give me a glass of wine, M. 

Clavaroche (low). I repeat to you that your 
clerk bores me. Do me the favor of sending 
him away. 

Jacqueline. I am doing just what you told 
me to. 

Andre. When I think that I spent last night 
in the office, chilling myself to the heart upon a 
cursed suspicion, I don't know what name to call 

Jacqueline. M. Fortunio, give me that cush- 


Clavaroche (low) . Do you take me for a sec- 
ond M. Andre? If your clerk doesn't leave the 
house, I shall leave it myself very soon. 

Jacqueline. I am doing just as you told 
me to. 

Andre. But I have told it to everybody. 
Justice must be done here upon earth. The whole 


town shall know who I am; and in future, for 
penitence, I shall never doubt, whatever it may 

Jacqueline. M. Fortunio, I drink to your 

Clavaroche (low). Enough of that, Jacque- 
line ; and I understand what that signifies. That 
isn't what I told you to do. 

Andre. Yes, to Fortunio 's sweethearts! 
(He sings.) 

Friends, drink, drink without ceasing . . . 

Fortunio. That song is very old. Sing 
something, M. Clavaroche! 

(End of The Chandler.) 





VAN BUCK, a Merchant. 

CECILE, her Daughter. 

The Scene is at Paris in the first part of the first act, and afterward at the 
Chateau of the Baroness. 


(Valentin's chamber. Fan Buck, Valentin.) 

Van Buck. Good morning, nephew. 

Valentin. Your servant, uncle. 

Van Buck. Keep your seat; I wish to talk 
to you. 

Valentin. Be seated; I wish to hear you, 
then. Please lay aside your hat, and take the 
easy chair. 



Van Buck (seating himself). Nephew, the 
longest patience and the greatest obstinacy must, 
one or the other, end sooner or later. What a 
man tolerates becomes intolerable, what a man 
does not correct, incorrigible; and he who has 
twenty times thrown a line to a fool who wishes 
to drown himself, may be forced some day or 
other either to abandon him, or perish with him. 

Valentin. Oh, ho! so much to begin with, and 
your metaphors are abroad early this morning. 

Van Buck. Be silent, sir, and do not permit 
yourself to joke with me. For three years have 
I vainly sought to impress you with the wisest 
counsels. A recklessness or a blind passion, re- 
solutions to no effect, a thousand pretexts in- 
vented at will, an accursed condescension all 
that I have done or can still do ; but, by the Lord ! 
I will do nothing more! . . . Where are 
you leading me at your heels? You are as ob- 
stinate . 

Valentin. You are angry, Uncle Van Buck. 

Van Buck. No, sir; do not interrupt me. 
You are as obstinate as I have shown myself to 
be credulous and patient, to my sorrow. Is it 
credible, I ask of you, that a young man of 
twenty-five should spend his time as you do? Of 
what use are my remonstrances; and when are 
you going to take up a profession? You are 
poor, since, after all, you have no fortune but 
mine ; but, finally, I am not in a dying condition, 

A WAGER 261 

and my digestion is still vigorous. What do you 
expect to do from now until my death? 

Valentin. You are angry, Uncle Van Buck, 
and you are forgetting yourself. 

Van Buck. No, sir; I know what I am doing. 
If I am the only one of the family who has 
entered into business, it is, thanks to me, that the 
remnants of a ruined fortune have been re- 
trieved, and do not you forget it. It is unbe- 
coming in you to smile when I am talking. If 
I had not sold gingham at Antwerp, you would 
now be in the almshouse without your flow- 
ered dressing-gown. But, thank God, your 
card-playing creatures . 

Valentin. Uncle Van Buck, this is trivial; 
you are changing your tune; you are forgetting 
yourself; you began better than that. 

Van Buck. Hang it! are you laughing at 
me? Apparently I am good for nothing but to 
pay your bills. I received one of them this 
morning three hundred dollars! Do you make 
a mockery of people? It is very becoming in 
you to play the fashionable, when you can not 
pay your tailor! It is quite another thing to 
dismount from a fine horse to find a nice rich 
family within a mansion, or jump out of a hack- 
ney-coach to climb two or three flights of stairs. 
With your satin waistcoats, you order your can- 
dle from your porter when you return from a 
ball, and he grumbles if he has not had his fees. 


God knows whether you will give them to him 
every year or not! Launched in a society richer 
than yourself, you draw upon yourself the dis- 
dain of your friends; you wear a pointed beard 
and your hair upon your shoulders, as though 
you simply had not the wherewithal to buy a 
ribbon to make a queue for yourself. You 
scribble in the newspapers; you are capable of 
turning Simple Simon when you no longer have 
a sou in your pocket or a stitch to your back, and 
that time will come, my word for it. Begone! 
begone! a public writing-master is more esti- 
mable than you. I shall end by cutting off your 
allowance, and you will die in a garret. 

Valentin. My good Uncle Van Buck, I re- 
spect you, and I love you. Be kind enough to 
listen to me. You have paid a bill on my ac- 
count. When you came, I was at the window 
and I saw you arrive; you were meditating a 
sermon as long as from here to your house. 
Pray, spare your speeches. I know what you 
think; I thank you for what you do. It may 
be that I have debts, and am good for nothing; 
what are you going to do about it? You have 
an income of sixty thousand francs . . . 

Van Buck. Fifty. 

Valentin. Sixty, uncle. You have no chil- 
dren, and you are full of kindness for me. If 
I profit by that, where is the harm? With a 
good sixty thousand francs a year ... ... ^ 

A WAGER 263 

Van Buck. Fifty-five; not a mite more. 

Valentin. Sixty; you told me so yourself. 

Van Buck. Never! How did you get that 
into your head? 

Valentin. Put it at fifty. You are young, 
lively still, and a jolly companion. Do you 
think that I am sorry for that, and that I covet 
your property? You would not do me such an 
injustice; and you know that wrong-headed peo- 
ple have not always the worst hearts. You quar- 
rel with me over my dressing-gown; you have 
worn many more of them. My pointed beard 
does not indicate that I am a Simple Simon; I 
am too respectful of inheritance. You complain 
of my waistcoats: would you have a man go out 
in his shirt-sleeves? You tell me that I am poor, 
and that my friends are not: so much the better 
for them, it is not my fault. You imagine that 
they are spoiling me, and that their example 
is making me disdainful: I am only so with those 
who bore me, and since you pay my debts, you 
can readily see that I do not borrow. You re- 
proach me for riding in hackney-coaches: it is 
because I have no carriage of my own. I take 
my candle from my porter when I come in, you 
say: it is in order to avoid climbing the stairs 
in the dark; what's the use of breaking your 
neck? You would like to see me settled in a 
profession: get me appointed prime minister, 
and you will see how I will get on. But if I 

were to be supernumerary in a lawyer's office, 
pray what would I learn there, unless it was that 
all is vanity? You say that I gamble: it is be- 
cause I win when I have three of a kind; but I 
assure you that I do not lose sooner than I repent 
of my folly. You say that it would be quite 
a different thing if I were to dismount from a 
fine horse to enter a fine house. I believe it! it 
is all very well for you to say so. You add that 
you are proud, although you have sold gingham; 
would to God that I might sell some! that would 
be proof that I were able to buy some. As for 
my nobility, it is as dear to me as it can be to 
you; but that is why I do not harness myself, 
any more than I do thoroughbred horses. If I 
am not mistaken, uncle, you have not been to 
breakfast. You have remained fasting over this 
accursed bill. Let us breakfast together; I will 
order the chocolate. 

(He rings. Breakfast is served.) 

Van Buck. What a breakfast! The devil 
take me ! you live like a prince. 

Valentin. Well, it can not be helped! When 
a man is dying of hunger, he must try to divert 

(They sit down at the table.) 

Van Buck. I am sure that because I take this 
seat, you imagine that I forgive you. 

Valentin. I? Not at all. What grieves 
me, when you are irritated, is that there escape 

A WAGER 265 

from you, in spite of yourself, expressions of 
the back shop. Yes, without knowing it, you 
forget the polished manners which especially 
distinguish you; but when it is not before wit- 
nesses, you understand that I shall say nothing 
about it. 

Tan Buck. Nonsense! nonsense! nothing 
escapes me. But let us drop the subject, and 
talk of something else. You ought to get mar- 

Valentin. Good heavens! what are you say- 

Van Buck. Give me a cup of chocolate. I 
say that you are of a suitable age, and that you 
ought to marry. 

Valentin. But, uncle, what have I ever done 
to you? 

Van Buck. You have made bills for me. 
But if you had never done anything to me, what 
is there about marriage that is so shocking? 
Come, let us talk seriously. Zounds! you would 
be greatly to be pitied, if somebody should place 
a pretty, well-bred girl in your arms this even- 
ing, with fifty thousand crowns upon the table 
to cheer you when you awaken to-morrow morn- 
ing! Let us see this great misfortune, and what 
there is to be so shy about! You have debts, I 
will pay them for you; once married, you will 
be reclaimed. Mademoiselle de Mantes has all 
that is necessary . . . 


Valentin. Mademoiselle de Mantes! You 
are joking! 

Van Buck. As her name has been mentioned, 
I am not joking. It is she who is in question, 
and if you wish . 

Valentin. And if she wishes. It is as the 
song says : 

" I know that it only rests with me 
To marry her if she wishes." 

Van Buck. No; that depends upon you. 
You are agreeable ; she is pleased with you. 

Valentin. I never saw her in my life. 

Van Buck. That is no matter. I tell you she 
is pleased with you. 

Valentin. Indeed? 

Van Buck. I give you my word for it. 

Valentin. Very well, then ! I am not pleased 
with her. 

Van Buck. Why? 

Valentin. For the same reason that she is 
pleased with me. 

Van Buck. That is all nonsense, to say that 
people are not pleasing to us, when we do not 
know them. 

Valentin. As to say that they do please us. 
I beg of you, let us say no more about it. 

Van Buck. But, my friend, upon reflection 
give me some water it is necessary to settle 
the matter. 

A WAGER 267 

Valentin. To be sure, it is necessary to die 
once in a lifetime. 

Van Buck. I mean, that you must make a 
decision, and get settled. What will become of 
you? I give you fair warning, that some day 
or other I shall abandon you in spite of myself. 
I do not intend that you shall ruin me, and if 
you expect to be my heir, you must still be in 
a position to wait for my death. Your marriage 
would cost me something, it is true, but once fon 
all, and less, upon the whole, than your follies. 
In short, I prefer to rid myself of you. Think 
of that : would not you like to have a pretty wife, 
your debts paid, and live at ease ? 

Valentin. Since you insist upon it, uncle, and 
are talking seriously, I am going to reply seri- 
ously: take some pie, and listen to me. 

Van Buck. Now, then, what are your senti- 

Valentin. Without wishing to go too far 
back in a narrative or to tire you by too much 
of a preamble, I will begin with antiquity. Need 
I recall to your mind the manner in which one 
man was treated, who did not merit it in the 
least; who, all his life, was of a peaceful dis- 
position, even to the extent of receiving again, 
after her fault, the woman who had so outrage- 
ously deceived him? The brother, moreover, 
of a powerful monarch, and very unworthily 


Van Buck. Of whom the devil are you talk- 

Valentin. Of Menelaus, uncle., 

Van Buck. The devil take you, and me with 
you! I am a fool for listening to you. 

Valentin. Why? It seems to me quite 
plain . . . 

Van Buck. You confounded blackguard, 
you crack-brained idiot! There is no way of 
making you say a word of common sense. (He 
rises.) Come! let us have done! enough of this. 
Youth has no respect for anything or anybody 

Valentin. Uncle Van Buck, you are putting 
yourself into a passion. 

Van Buck. No, sir; but, in truth, it is an in- 
conceivable thing. Can anybody imagine that 
a man of my age should serve as the plaything 
of a boy? Do you take me for your playmate, 
and must I repeat to you . 

Valentin. What ! uncle, is it possible that you 
have never read Homer? 

Van Buck (seating himself again). Well! 
What if I should have read it? 

Valentin. You talk to me of marriage; it is 
quite natural that I should cite to you the great- 
est husband of antiquity. 

Van Buck. What do I care for your prov- 
erbs! Will you answer me seriously? 

Valentin. Be it so; let us touch glasses in 

A WAGER 269 

friendship; I shall never be understood by you 
so long as you keep interrupting me. I have 
not cited 'Menelaus for the sake of parading my 
knowledge, but to avoid naming many honest 
men. May I explain myself unreservedly? 

Van Buck. Yes, immediately, or I am going. 

Valentin. I was sixteen years of age, and 
had left college, when a lady of our acquaintance 
noticed me for the first time. At that age, can 
anybody know what is innocent or guilty? One 
evening I was seated with my mistress in the 
chimney-corner, her husband making a third 
party. The husband arose and said that he was 
going out. At that announcement, a rapid 
glance exchanged between my fair lady and me 
made my heart bound with joy: we were going 
to be alone! I turned, and saw the poor man 
putting on his gloves. They were of buckskin, 
of a greenish color, and ripped at the thumb. 
While he was drawing them on his hands, stand- 
ing in the middle of the room, an almost imper- 
ceptible smile lit up the corner of the wife's lips, 
and outlined like a faint shadow the two dimples 
of her cheeks. The eye of a lover only sees 
such smiles, for you feel them more than you 
see them. That one pierced me to the depths 
of my soul, and I swallowed it like a sherbet. 
But, by a strange caprice, the memory of that 
delicious moment associated itself ineradicably in 
my mind with that of a pair of great red hands 


struggling into greenish gloves ; and I know not 
what those hands, in their confident perform- 
ance, had that was sad and pitiful, but I have 
never thought of them since without the femi- 
nine smile coming to play around the corner of 
my lips, and I vowed that no woman in the world 
should ever glove me with gloves like those. 

Van Buck. That is to say that as a down- 
right libertine you doubt of women's virtue, and 
that you are afraid that other men will pay you 
in your own coin. 

Valentin. You have said it: I am afraid of 
the devil, and I don't wish to be gloved. 

Van Buck. Bah! a young man's idea! 

Valentin. As you please; it is mine. Thirty 
years from now, if I should be here, it will be 
the idea of an old man, for I shall never marry. 

Van Buck. Do you mean to say that all 
women are false, and that all husbands are de- 
ceived ? 

Valentin. I mean to say nothing, and I 
know nothing about it. I mean, when I go 
through a street, not to throw myself under- 
neath the carriage wheels; when I dine, not to 
eat crow; when I am thirsty, not to drink out 
of broken glasses; and when I see a woman, not 
to marry her; and even then I am not certain 
that I shall be neither crushed, nor strangled, 
nor gap-toothed, nor . . . 

Van Buck. For shame I Mademoiselle de 

A WAGER 271 

Mantes is modest and well-bred; she is a nice 
little girl. 

Valentin. God forbid that I should say any- 
thing ill of her! She is doubtless the best girl 
in the world. She is well-bred, you say. What 
education has she received? Is she taken to balls, 
to the theater, to horse-races? Does she go out 
alone in hackney-coaches in the morning, at noon, 
to return at six o'clock? Has she a clever dress- 
ing-maid, a secret staircase? Has she seen the 
life of the court, and does she read Balzac's 
novels? Is she taken after a good dinner, on 
summer evenings, when the wind is in the south, 
to the Champs-Elysees to see ten or twelve nude 
wrestlers, with their square shoulders? Has she 
a dancing-master who is a fine waltzer, sedate 
and frizzled, with a Prussian gravity, who presses 
her fingers when she has been drinking punch? 
Does she receive visits in private, in the after- 
noon, upon a downy sofa, in the shadow of a 
red curtain? Has she a golden bolt to her door, 
that can be pushed with the little finger, upon 
turning the head, and over which there softly 
falls again a heavy, noiseless tapestry? Does 
she place her glove in her glass when the cham- 
pagne is being passed? Does she pretend to go 
to the ball at the opera, in order to escape for 
a quarter of an hour, to run to Musard's and 
return to yawn? Has she been taught, when 
Rubini sings, only to show the white of her eye, 


like a love-sick turtle-dove? Does she pass the 
summer in the country with some experienced 
lady friend, who is accountable to her family, 
and who, of an evening, leaves her at the piano 
while she walks in the grove, whispering with 
some hussar? Does she go to watering-places? 
Does she have headaches? 

Van Buck. What the devil is that you are 

Valentin. Because, if she knows nothing of 
all that, she has not been taught very much; 
for, as soon as she arrives at womanhood, she 
will learn it, and then, who can foresee any- 

Van Buck. You have strange ideas concern- 
ing the education of women. Would you like 
to have them followed? 

Valentin. No; but I would like to have a 
young girl be a wild flower, and not a hot -house 
rose. Nonsense! uncle, come to the Tuileries, 
and let us say no more about all that. 

Van Buck. Do you refuse Mademoiselle de 
Mantes ? 

Valentin. No more than another, but neither 
more nor less. 

Van Buck. You will drive me mad! you are 
incorrigible! I had the greatest hopes. That 
girl will be very rich some day. You will ruin 
me and go to the devil ; that is what will happen. 
What is it what do you want? 

A WAGER 273 

Valentin. To give you your hat and cane, to 
take an airing, if that is agreeable to you. 

Van Buck. Little do I care about taking an 
airing! I will disinherit you if you refuse to 

Valentin. You will disinherit me, uncle? 

Van Buck. Yes, by heavens ! I take my oath 
upon it! I will be as obstinate as you, and we 
will see which of the two will yield? 

Valentin. Will you disinherit in writing, or 
only by word of mouth? 

Van Buck. In writing, insolent boy! 

Valentin. And to whom will you leave your 
fortune? Will you establish a prize for virtue, 
or a competition in Latin grammar? 

Van Buck. Rather than allow myself to be 
ruined by you, I will ruin myself alone, and in 
my own way. 

Valentin. There are no longer any lotteries 
or gambling-places; you will never be able to 
drink it all. 

Van Buck. I will leave Paris; I will return 
to Antwerp; I will get married myself, if neces- 
sary, and I will present you with six german 

Valentin. I will go to Algiers; I will be- 
come a trumpeter of dragoons; I will marry 
an Ethiopian woman; and I will present you 
with twenty-four grand-nephews as black as ink 
and as stupid as posts. 



Van Buck. Zounds ! if I take my cane . . . 

Valentin. Gently, uncle; be careful, in strik- 
ing, not to break the support of your old age. 

Van Buck (embracing him). Ah, wretch! 
you take advantage of me. 

Valentin. Listen to me: marriage is re- 
pugnant to me ; but for your sake, my dear uncle, 
I will make up my mind to everything. How- 
ever strange what I am about to propose may 
seem to you, promise me that you will agree to 
it unreservedly; and, on my side, I pledge my 

Van Buck. What's the matter? Hurry up! 

Valentin. Promise me first ; I will talk after- 

Van Buck. I can not, without knowing any- 

Valentin. You must, uncle; it's indis- 

Van Buck. All right! I promise you. 

Valentin. If you wish me to marry Madem- 
oiselle de Mantes, there is only one way of ac- 
complishing it: that is, to assure me that she 
will never put upon my hands the pair of gloves 
of which we were speaking. 

Van Buck. And how do you suppose that I 
can know that? 

Valentin. There are probabilities of it that a 
person can easily calculate. Will you admit that 
if I were to have the assurance that she could be 

A WAGER 275 

seduced in eight days, I should do very wrong 
to marry her? 

Van Buck. Certainly. What likelihood . . . 

Valentin. I do not ask you for a longer de- 
lay. The Baroness has never seen me, neither 
has her daughter; you order your carriage, and 
go to pay them a visit. You tell them that, to 
your great regret, your nephew has decided to 
remain a bachelor. I will arrive at the chateau 
an hour after you, and you will be careful not 
to recognize me. That is all that I ask of you; 
the rest concerns nobody but me. 

Van Buck. But you appal me! What is it 
that you want to do? By what name will you 
introduce yourself? 

Valentin. That is my affair; do not rec- 
ognize me, that is all that I charge you with. 
I will pass eight days at the chateau. I need a 
change of air, and that will do me good. You 
can remain there, if you wish to. 

Van Buck. Are you getting crazy, and what 
do you propose to do seduce a young girl in 
eight days? Play the gallant under an assumed 
name ? A pretty business that would be ! There 
is not a fairy tale but has such tomfoolery, told 
over and over again. Do you take me for a guy? 

Valentin. It's two o'clock; be off home with 




(A chateau. The Baroness, Cecile, an Abbot, 
a Dancing-Master. The Baroness, seated, 
is engaged with some embroidery, while 
talking with the Abbot. Cecile is taking a 
dancing lesson.) 

The Baroness. It is strange that I can not 
find my blue ball! 

The Abbot. You had it a few minutes ago; 
it must have rolled away somewhere. 

The Dancing-Master. If mademoiselle will 
do that figure once more, we will rest after that. 

Cecile. I wish to learn the waltz. 

The Dancing-Master. Madame the Baroness 
is opposed to it. Have the kindness to turn your 
head, and take the opposite positions for me. 

The Abbot. What do you think of that last 
sermon, madame? You heard it, did you not? 

The Baroness. It is green and red, upon a 
black background, like the little piece of furni- 
ture upstairs. 

The Abbot. Excuse me! 

The Baroness. All, pardon me, I was not 

The Abbot. I thought I saw you there. 

The Baroness. Where do you mean? 

The Abbot. At Saint Roch, last Sunday. 

A WAGER 277 

The Baroness. Yes, indeed; very well. 
Everybody was in tears; the Baron did nothing 
but blow his nose. I only half followed it, be- 
cause the lady beside me had so much perfumery, 
and I am just now in the hands of the homoeo- 

The Dancing-Master. It is no use for me to 
speak to yov, mademoiselle; you are not turning 
your head and body in opposite directions. Turn 
your head slightly, and place your arms akimbo. 

Cecile. But, sir, if you do not want to fall, 
you must look where you are going. 

The Dancing-Master. Fie; it's a horrible 
thing! Here see here: is there anything more 
simple? Look at me; do I fall? You go to 
the right, you look to the left; you go to the 
left, you look to the right; there's nothing more 

The Baroness. It is inconceivable that I do 
not find my blue ball! 

Cecile. Mamma, why do you not wish me to 
learn the waltz? 

The Baroness. Because it's improper. Have 
you read Jocelyn? 

The Abbot. Yes, madame; there are some 
pretty verses; but the background, I confess to 
you . . . 

The Baroness. The background is black; the 
little piece of furniture is so; you will always see 
that on violet-ebony. 


Cecile. But, mamma, Miss Clary waltzes 
well, and Mademoiselle de Rainebault also. 

The Baroness. Miss Clary is English, mad- 
emoiselle. I am sure, 'Abbot, that you are sit- 
ting on it. 

The Abbot. I, madame, upon Miss Clary? 

The Baroness. Oh! it's my ball of worsted I 
am talking about; here it is. No, this is the red 
one; where has it gone to? 

The Abbot. I think the scene with the 
Bishop is very beautiful; it certainly shows some 
genius, a great deal of talent and facility. 

Cecile. But, mamma, provided one is Eng- 
lish, why is it proper to waltz? 

The Baroness. There is also a novel which I 
have read, which was sent to me from Mongie's. 
I do not remember the name of the book, or the 
author. Have you read it? It is very well 

The Abbot. Yes, madame. It seems that 
somebody is opening the gate. Are you expect- 
ing any visit? 

The Baroness. Ah, that's true. Listen, 

The Dancing-Master. Madame the Baroness 
wishes to speak to you, mademoiselle. 

The Abbot. I see no carriage coming in; 
some horses are going out. 

Cecile (approaching). Did you call me, 

A WAGER 279 

The Baroness. No ah, yes. Somebody is 
coming ; lower your head a little, I want to whis- 
per to you. It's a match. Is you hair combed? 

Cecile. A match? 

The Baroness. Yes, a very suitable one. 
Twenty-five to thirty years, or younger no, I 
do not know. Very well, go and dance. 

Cecile. But, mamma, I want to tell you. 

The Baroness. It is incredible where that 
ball has gone to! I only have one blue one, 
and of course it must disappear. (Enter Van 

Van Buck. Madame the Baroness, I bid you 
good morning. My nephew was unable to come 
with me ; he charged me to present his regrets to 
you, and to excuse his absence. 

The Baroness. Bah! is it true he is not com- 
ing? My daughter is taking her lesson; will you 
permit her to continue? I had her come dowTi 
here, because her rooms are too small. 

Van Buck. I hope, indeed, that I shall not 
disturb anybody. If my madcap of a nephew . . 

The Baroness. Do you not wish to drink any- 
thing? Be seated, then. How are you? 

Van Buck. My nephew, madame, is very 
sorry . . . 

The Baroness. Listen to what I am saying to 
you. Abbot, you will remain with us, will you 
not? Very well. Cecile, what has happened to 


The Dancing-Master. Mademoiselle is tired, 

The Baroness. Nonsense! If she were at a 
ball, and it was four o'clock in the morning, she 
would not be tired, that's a sure thing. Tell me 
now, you (low to Van Buck), has it failed? 

Van Buck. I'm afraid so; and if everything 
must be told . . . 

The Baroness. Pshaw! he refuses? Well, 
that's a pretty how-do-you-do! 

Van Buck. My God, madame, do not think 
that I am in the least to blame for it! I swear 
to you by the soul of my father . . . 

The Baroness. In short, he refuses, does he 
not? It has failed? 

Van Buck. But, madame, if I could truth- 
fully . . . (A great tumult is heard without.} 

The Baroness. What is that? Look and see, 

The Abbot. Madame, it's a carriage over- 
turned before the gate of the chateau. They are 
bringing a young man in here who seems to be 

The Baroness. Ah, my God! a dead man 
comes to me! Let the green room be prepared 
immediately. Come, Van Buck, give me your 


A WAGER 281 



(A walk in a beech grove. Enter Fan Buck and 
Valentin, who has his arm in a sling. ) 

Van Buck. My poor boy, is it possible that 
you have really dislocated your arm? 

Valentin. There is nothing more possible 
it is even probable; and, what is worse, quite 
painfully real. 

Van Buck. I do not know which of us two 
is the most to blame in this affair. Did any one 
ever see such extravagance! 

Valentin. I had to find some pretext for in- 
troducing myself properly. What reason do you 
think a man has for presenting himself thus in- 
cognito to a respectable family? I gave my 
driver a pound upon exacting his promise to up- 
set me in front of the chateau. He's an honest 
man, there's no doubt about that, and his money 
was faithfully earned: he drove his wheel into 
the ditch with heroic resolution. I have dislo- 
cated my arm, that's my fault; but I was upset, 
and I do not complain; on the contrary, I am 
glad of it ; it gives to things an air of truth which 
interests people in my favor. 


Fan Buck. What are you going to do, and 
what is your scheme? 

Valentin. I do not come here at all for the 
purpose of marrying Mademoiselle de Mantes, 
but solely for the purpose of proving to you that 
I should be wrong to marry her. My plans are 
made, my guns are pointed, and up to this point 
everything is going on swimmingly. You have 
kept your promise like a hero. You have not 
once called me nephew, that's the principal and 
most difficult part. I am received, entertained, 
put to bed in a green room, orange blossoms on 
my table, white curtains at my bed. It is only 
justice to your Baroness to say that she has 
picked me up as thoroughly as my driver upset 
me. Now the question is, to know whether all 
the rest will go equally well. I intend, in the 
first place, to make my declaration; secondly, to 
write a note. . . . 

Van Buck. It's no use; I shall not allow this 
mischievous jest to be worked out. 

Valentin. You take back your word ! As you 
please. I will also take back my word upon the 

Van Buck. But, nephew . . . 

Valentin. Say one word, I will take post and 
return to Paris; no more promises, no more of 
marriage; you can disinherit me, if you like. 

Van Buck. This is a most incomprehensible 
scrape, and it is most unheard-of that I should 

A WAGER 283 

be dragged into it. But, after all, let us see 
explain yourself. 

Valentin. Think of our compact, uncle. You 
have admitted that if it were proven that my in- 
tended would some day be false to me, I would 
be a fool to make her my wife. Consequently, 
the test being admitted, you would consider it 
right, just, and proper that it be as complete as 
possible. What I shall say will be well said; 
what I shall try, well tried; and what I shall be 
able to do, well done. You are not to try any 
chicanery with me, and I am to have carte 
blanche in everything. 

Van Buck. But, sir, there are, nevertheless, 
certain limits, certain things I beg of you to 
take notice, that if you are going to take advan- 
tage of ... Bless me, you do go on at a fine 

Valentin. If our intended is all that you be- 
lieve her to be, and all that you have represented 
her to me, there isn't the slightest danger, and 
she will only be found the more worthy. Do you 
imagine that I am anybody? I am in love with 
Mademoiselle de Mantes, virtuous spouse of 
Valentin Van Buck ; think how enterprising and 
bold the young people of to-day are ! Moreover, 
what would not a man do when he is in love? 
What scaling of walls, what a flood of letters, 
what torrents of tears, what a surfeit of sugar- 
plums! Before what would a lover hesitate? 


For what could anybody call him to account? 
What harm does he do, and of what does he take 
offense? He's in love, O my Uncle Van Buck! 
Remember the times when you used to be in 

Van Buck. I was decent at all times, and I 
hope that you will be so; otherwise I will tell 
everything to the Baroness. 

Valentin. I do not intend to do anything that 
would shock anybody. I intend, in the first 
place, to make my declaration; secondly, to 
write several notes; thirdly, to win the dressing- 
maid; fourthly, to roam around the little nooks; 
fifthly, to take an impression of the locks with 
sealing-wax; sixthly, to make a rope ladder, and 
cut the window-panes with my ring; seventhly, 
to kneel upon the ground and recite the New 
Heloisa, and, eighthly, if I do not succeed, to go 
and drown myself in the lake. But I swear to 
you to be decent, and not to say a single coarse 
word, or anything to shock the proprieties. 

Van Buck. You are a roue and an insolent 
fellow. I shall not allow anything of the kind. 

Valentin. But consider that all that I have 
told you will be done by some other man four 
years from now, if I marry Mademoiselle de 
Mantes ; and how do you expect me to know what 
resistance she is capable of, if I have not first 
tried it myself? Another man would attempt 
very much more, and would have before him a 

A WAGER 285 

much longer delay; in only demanding eight 
days, I committed an act of great submission. 

Van Buck. This is a trap that you have set 
for me ; I never foresaw this. 

Valentin. And what did you expect to fore- 
see when you accepted the wager? 

Fan Buck. But, my friend, I thought, I be- 
lieved I believed that you were going to pay 
your court . . . but politely ... to that 
young woman; as, for example ... to say 
to her . . . Or if, perchance . . . but, 
after all, I do not know anything about it ... 
What the devil! you are dreadful! 

Valentin. Listen! the fair Cecile is coming 
this way with short, quick steps. Do you hear the 
dry twigs snapping? The mother is embroider- 
ing with her abbot. Quick! conceal yourself in 
the thicket. You will be witness of the first skir- 
mish, and you can tell me your opinion about it. 

Van Buck. Will you marry her if she re- 
ceives you coldly? (He conceals himself.) 

Valentin. Leave it to me, and do not budge. 
I am delighted to have you for a spectator, and 
the enemy is turning the corner of the walk. 
Since you have called me a fool, I wish to dem- 
onstrate to you that, in point of extravagances, 
might is right. You will see, with a little clever- 
ness, what honorable wounds, received to please 
beauty, gain. Consider this pensive gait, and be 
good enough to tell me if this crippled arm is not 


becoming to me. Well, there is no help for it! 
how pale one is; there is nothing in the world 
better than this: "A young invalid with slow 
step." . . . Above all things, not a sound ; this 
is the critical moment. I am going to sit down 
at the foot of a tree, like a shepherd of olden 
times. (Enter Cecile, a book in her hand.) Up 
already, mademoiselle, and alone in the woods at 
this hour? 

Cecile. It is you, sir. I did not recognize 
you. How is the sprain getting along? 

Valentin (aside). Sprain! that's a mean 
word. (Aloud.) You do me too much honor, 
and there are certain wounds that a man never 
more than half feels. 

Cecile. Have you had your breakfast? 

Valentin. You are too kind ; of all the virtues 
of your sex, hospitality is the rarest, and nowhere 
does one find it so agreeable, so charming, as in 
your home ; and if the interest which is expressed 
for me here . . . 

Cecile. I am going to have a cup of bouillon 
made for you. 

Van Buck (entering). You will marry her! 
you will marry her! Confess that she is per- 
fect. What simplicity! what divine modesty! 
One could not make a better choice. 

Valentin. Not so fast, uncle not so fast; 
you dispose of the matter very quickly. 

A WAGER 287 

Fan Buck. Why not? Nothing further is 
needed ; you see plainly with whom you are deal- 
ing, and it will always be the same. May you be 
happy with this woman! Let us go and explain 
everything to the Baroness; I will undertake to 
appease her. 

Valentin. Bouillon! How can a young girl 
mention such a word as that? She does not 
please me; she is homely and stupid. Good-by, 
uncle; I'm going back to Paris. 

Van Buck. Are you joking? Where is your 
word ? Is this the way you trifle with me ? What 
do these lowered eyes and this dejected counte- 
nance signify? Do they mean that you take me 
for a libertine like yourself, and that you are 
using my foolish complaisance as a shield for 
your wicked purposes ? Is it not a real seduction 
that you are attempting here under the disguise 
of this test? Good heavens ! if I believed that . . . 

Valentin. If she does not please me, it is not 
my fault, and I am not responsible for it. 

Van Buck. Why does she not please you? 
She is pretty, or I do not know anything about 
beauty. She has large, full eyes, superb hair, a 
passable form; she is perfectly well-bred; she 
can speak English and Italian; she will have an 
income of thirty thousand pounds, and, in the 
meantime, a magnificent dot. What fault can 
you find with her, and what's the reason that you 
do not want her? 


Valentin. There is never any reason to give 
why people do or do not please. It is certain that 
she does not please me, with her " sprain " and 
her " bouillon." 

Van Buck. It is your pride that is suffering. 
If I had not been here, you would have 
come to tell me a hundred stories of your first 
conversation, and to boast of great expectations. 
You imagined that you could make your con- 
quest in the twinkling of an eye, and that's where 
the shoe pinches. She pleased you last evening, 
when you had only had a glimpse of her, and she 
was eager to assist her mother in caring for you, 
with your foolish accident. Now you find her 
homely, because she paid scarcely any attention 
to you. I know you better than you think, and 
I shall not yield so quickly. I forbid you to go 

Valentin. Just as you please. I have no use 
for her. I repeat to you that I think her homely ; 
she has a silly air which is revolting. Her eyes 
are large, it is true, but they are incapable of 
speaking; her hair is pretty, but her face is in- 
sipid ; as for her form, it is perhaps the best part 
of her, although you found it only passable. I 
congratulate her upon knowing Italian ; perhaps 
she has more wit in that than she has in French. 
As far as her dot is concerned, let her keep it; I 
do not want any more of that than I do of her 

A WAGER 289 

Van Buck. Could any one imagine such a 
head, and did any one ever see anything like it? 
Come, come! what I told you yesterday was 
nothing but the truth. You are incapable of 
anything but trifling, and I do not wish to have 
anything more to do with you. Marry a washer- 
woman, if you choose. Since you refuse your 
fortune when you have it in your hands, let fate 
decide the rest. God knows that my patience, 
for the past three years, has been such as that of 
no other man in my place could have been . . . 

Valentin. Can it be that I am mistaken? 
Look, uncle I think she is coming back here. 
Yes, I see her between the trees; she is passing 
through the coppice. 

Van Buck. Where? What? What are you 

Valentin. Do not you see a white frock be- 
hind those lilac bushes? I am not mistaken; it 
is indeed she. Quick, uncle ! go into the thicket ; 
let her not discover us together. 

Van Buck. What's the use, since she dis- 
pleases you? 

Valentin. No matter; I wish to approach 
her, so that you will not be able to say that I 
have judged her too lightly. 

Van Buck. You will marry her if she per- 
severes? (He hides himself again.) 

Valentin. Hush! do not make any noise; she 
is here. 


Cecile (entering). My mother wanted me to 
ask you if you intended leaving to-day, sir? 

Valentin. Yes, mademoiselle, it is my inten- 
tion, and I have ordered the horses. 

Cecile. It was because they are making up 
a game of whist in the drawing-room, and my 
mother would be greatly obliged if you would 
take the fourth hand. 

Valentin. I am very sorry, but I do not know 
how to play. 

Cecile. And if you will remain to dinner, we 
have a stuffed pheasant. 

Valentin. Thank you; I never eat it. 

Cecile. We are expecting some guests after 
dinner, and we will dance the mazurka. 

Valentin. Excuse me, I never dance. 

Cecile. It's a great pity. Good-by, sir. 

Van Buck (reentering) . Ah, come; how 
now, will you marry her? What does all this 
mean? You say that you have ordered horses; 
is that the truth, or are you making game of 

Valentin. You are right, she is agreeable; I 
liked her better than the first time. She has a 
little smile lurking about the corners of her 
mouth which I had not observed. 

Van Buck. Where are you going? What 
has happened to you? Will you answer me seri- 

A WAGER 291 

Valentin. I am going nowhere. I will walk 
with you. Do you think her ill-shaped? 

Van Buck. I? God forbid! I find her per- 
fect in every way. 

Valentin. It seems to me that it is pretty 
early in the morning to play whist. Do you play, 
uncle? You ought to return to the chateau. 

Van Buck. Certainly, I ought to return 
there ; I am only waiting until you condescend to 
reply to me. Are you going to remain here, or 

Valentin. If I remain, it will be on account 
of our wager; I should not like to have it said 
that I was baffled. But do not count upon any- 
thing just now; my crippled arm pains me very 

Van Buck. Let us go in; you must rest your- 

Valentin. Yes, I want to take that bouillon 
which is prepared for me; I must do some writ- 
ing ; I will see you again at dinner. 

Van Buck. Writing! I hope that it is not to 
her that you are going to write. 

Valentin. If I write to her, it is on account 
of our wager. You know it was agreed. 

Van Buck. I object to that formally, unless 
you show me your letter. 

Valentin. As much as you like. I declare to 
you that she pleases me indifferently well. 

Van Buck. What's the use of writing to her? 


Why did you not make your declaration by word 
of mouth just now, as you had promised your- 
self to do? 

Valentin. Why? 

Van Buck. Doubtless; what prevented you 
from doing so? You had the best opportunity 
in the world. 

Valentin. My arm was paining me. Ha! 
there she is passing for the third time. Do you 
see her down there in the path? 

Van Buck. She is taking a turn around the 
flower border, and the grove is circular. There is 
nothing in that that is not perfectly proper. 

Valentin. Ah, the little flirt! It is around 
a candle that she is turning, like a dazzled moth. 
I will toss up this penny to know whether I will 
fall in love with her, or not. 

Van Buck. You had better strive to win her 
love first ; the rest is less difficult. 

Valentin. Be it so. Let us both watch her 
closely. She is going to pass between those two 
clumps of trees. If she looks this way, I love 
her ; if she does not, I will be off for Paris. 

Van Buck. I'll bet she will not look this way. 

Valentin. Why, yes. I'll bet she will. Let 
us not lose sight of her. 

Van Buck. You are right. No, not yet; she 
seems very much absorbed in her book. 

Valentin. I am sure that she is going to look 
this way. 

A WAGER 293 

Fan Buck. No, she is approaching; she is 
near the clumps of trees. I am convinced that 
she will do nothing of the sort. 

Valentin. She must see us, however; there's 
nothing to hide us. I tell you she will look this 

Van Buck. She has passed. You have lost. 

Valentin. I am going to write to her, if I die 
for it. I must know what is the meaning of this. 
It is incredible that a young lady should treat 
men so lightly. It is pure hypocrisy, pure crafti- 
ness! I am going to despatch her an orthodox 
love-letter ; I will tell her that I am dying of love 
for her ; that I broke my arm for the purpose of 
seeing her; that if she rejects me, I will blow my 
brains out ; and if she accepts me, I will run away 
with her to-morrow morning. Come on, let us 
go in ; I wish to write in your presence. 

Van Buck. Gently, nephew. What whim 
have you gotten into your head? You will get 
us into trouble here. 

Valentin. Do you think that two words of idle 
talk can signify anything? What did I say to 
her that was not totally indifferent, and what did 
she say to me? It is very plain that she did not 
look this way. She knows nothing, and I did not 
know what to say to her. I am nothing but an 
idiot, if you like; it is possible that my pride is 
stung, and that my self-esteem is in play. Hand- 
some or homely, it does not much matter to me; 


I wish to penetrate her mind. There is some ruse 
at the bottom of this, some resolution of which 
we are ignorant. Leave it to me ; everything will 
be cleared up. 

Fan Buck. The devil take me ! You talk like 
a man in love. Can it be that you are so, per- 

Valentin. No; I have told you that she does 
not please me. Must I tell you the same thing 
a hundred times ? Hurry up ; let us return to the 

Van Buck. I have told you that I want no 
letter, and especially such a one as you are 
talking about. 

Valentin. Come along all the same; we will 
decide about it. 


(A drawing-room. The Baroness and the 
Abbot, sitting at a card-table.) 

The Baroness. You can say what you like, it 
is tiresome to play with a dummy. I detest the 
country on that account. 

The Abbot. But where is M. Van Buck? 
Has he not come down yet? 

The Baroness. I saw him a little while ago 
in the park with this gentleman of the chaise, 

A WAGER 295 

who, by the way, is scarcely polite, not to wish 
to remain to dinner with us. 

The Abbot. If he has pressing business . . . 

The Baroness. Bah! business everybody 
has that. A pretty excuse! If people never 
thought of anything but business, they would 
never accomplish anything. Come, Abbot, let us 
play piquet; I am in a beastly humor this 

The Abbot (shuffling the cards). It is cer- 
tain that the young people of to-day do not pride 
themselves upon being polite. 

The Baroness. Polite! I believe you. Is it 
because they're suspicious of it? And what is it 
to be polite? My coachman is polite. Men used 
to be gallant in my day, Abbot. 

The Abbot. Those were good old times, 
madame, and I thank my lucky stars that I was 
born then! 

The Baroness. I should like to have seen my 
brother, who was in the suite of Monsieur, fall 
out of a coach at a chateau gate, and be put up 
for the night. He would have sacrificed his for- 
tune sooner than refuse to make a fourth hand. 
There ! let us talk no more about these things. It 
is your play; have you not anything to play? 

The Abbot. I have not an ace; here is M. 
Van Buck. 

(Enter Van Buck.) 

The Baroness. Go on ; it is your turn. 


Van Buck (low to the Baroness). Madame, 
I have two words to say to you which are of the 
greatest importance. 

The Baroness. Very well ; after the score. 

The Abbot. Five cards, making forty-five. 

The Baroness. Forty-five is not good. (To 
Van Buck.) Now, what is it? 

Van Buck. I beg of you to grant me one 
moment. I can not speak before a third party, 
and what I have to say to you will admit of no 

The Baroness (arising). You frighten me! 
What is the matter? 

Van Buck. It is a serious matter, madame, 
and perhaps you will be angry with me. Neces- 
sity forces me to break a promise which my im- 
prudence caused me to make. The young man to 
whom you gave your hospitality last night is my 

The Baroness. Bah! what an idea! 

Van Buck. He wished to approach you with- 
out being known. I never dreamed of any harm, 
in lending myself to a whim which, in parallel 
cases, is not new. 

The Baroness. Bless me, I have seen many 

Van Buck. But now I must inform you that 
he has written to Mademoiselle de Mantes, and in 
the most unreserved terms. Neither my threats 
nor my prayers were able to dissuade him from 

A WAGER 297 

his folly ; and one of your people, I regret to say, 
has undertaken to deliver the letter to its address. 
It pertains to a declaration of love, and, I must 
add, the most extravagant. 

The Baroness. Indeed? Well, now, that is 
not so bad. Your young man has a will of his 

Van Buck. Bless my soul, I should say so! 
I found that out long ago. In fine, madame, it 
is for you to devise some means of averting the 
consequences of this affair. You are in your own 
home; and as for me, I confess to you that this 
is too much for me, and that I am quite overcome 
by it. Oh! 

(He sinks into a chair.) 

The Baroness. Ah, heavens! what's the mat- 
ter with you? You are as white as a sheet! 
Quickly! tell me all that has happened, and give 
me your entire confidence. 

Van Buck. I have told you everything; I 
have not anything to add. 

The Baroness. Ah, bah! is that all? Have 
no fear, then: if your nephew has written to 
Cecile, the darling will show me the note. 

Van Buck. Are you sure of it, Baroness. 
That is dangerous. 

The Baroness. What a question! Where 
should we be if a girl would not show her mother 
a letter which was written to her? 

Van Buck. H'm! I would not swear to it. 


The Baroness. What does this mean, M. Van 
Buck? Do you know to whom you are talking? 
In what world have you lived to raise such a 
doubt as that? I do not altogether know how 
people do nowadays, nor at what a pace your 
common people go; but, good gracious! enough 
of this. I see my daughter coming now, and you 
will see that she is bringing me her letter. Come, 
Abbot, let us go on with our playing. (She re- 
sumes her game. Enter Cecile, who goes to the 
window 3 takes her work, and seats herself at one 
side. ) 

The Abbot. Forty-five is not good? 

The Baroness. No, you have not anything; 
fourteen for the ace, six and fifteen, that is 
ninety-five. It is your play. 

The Abbot. Clubs. I believe that I am capot. 

Van Buck (low to the Baroness.) I do not 
see that Mademoiselle Cecile is giving you her 
confidence yet . . . 

The Baroness (low to Van Buck). You do 
not know what you are talking about; it is the 
Abbot who embarrasses her. I'm as sure of her 
as I am of myself. I only repique you. A hun- 
dred, and seventeen over. It is your deal. 

A Domestic (entering). Monsieur Abbot, 
you are wanted ; it is the sexton and the beadle of 
the village. 

The Abbot. What do they want of me? I 
am occupied. 

A WAGER 299 

The Baroness. Give your cards to Van Buck ; 
he will play this hand for you. (Exit Abbot. 
Van Buck takes his place. ) 

The Baroness. It is your deal, and I have 
cut. You are remarquable, according to all ap- 
pearance. What have you in your hand? 

Fan Buck (low) . I confess that I am uneasy. 
Your daughter does not say anything, and I do 
not see my nephew. 

The Baroness. I tell you that I will be re- 
sponsible for her; it is your presence that is hin- 
dering her; I see her beckoning to me from 

Van Buck. You believe it? I do not see any- 

The Baroness. Come a little nearer, Cecile; 
you place yourself a mile away. (Cecile draws 
her chair nearer. ) Have you not anything to tell 
me, my dear? 

Cecile. I? No, mamma. 

The Baroness. Bah! I have only four cards. 
Van Buck; the point is yours. I have three 

Van Buck. Do you wish me to leave you 

The Baroness. No, stay here; it does not 
make any difference. Cecile, you can speak be- 
fore this gentleman. 

Cecile. I, mamma? I have not any secret to 


The Baroness. Have you not anything to tell 

Cecile. No, mamma. 

The Baroness. This is very strange. What 
story have you been telling me, Van Buck? 

Van Buck. I told the truth, madame. 

The Baroness. That can not be; Cecile has 
nothing to tell me. It is plain that she has not 
received anything. 

Van Buck (arising). Ah, zounds! I saw it 
with my own eyes. 

The Baroness (arising also). Daughter, 
what does this mean? Get up immediately, and 
look at me. What have you in your pocket? 

Cecile. But, mamma, it is not my fault; it is 
this gentleman who has written to me. 

The Baroness. Let me see that. (Cecile 
gives her the letter.) I am curious to see the 
style of this gentleman, as you call him. 
(She reads.) 

" Mademoiselle, I am dying of love for you. 
I saw you last winter, and knowing you to be 
in the country, I resolved to see you again, or 
perish in the attempt. I gave a crown to my 
driver . . ." 

The Baroness. Would he not like to have us 
return it to him? What is that to us? 
" to my driver, to upset me before your gate. 
I have met you twice this morning, and I have 
not been able to say a thing to you, so much 

A WAGER 301 

did your presence agitate me ! However, the fear 
of losing you, and the obligation to leave the 
chateau . . ." 

The Baroness. I like that! Who is it that 
asked him to leave? It is he who refuses to re- 
main to dinner. 

" determines me to beg of you to accord me a 
rendezvous. I know that I have not any title 
to your confidence. . . . " 

The Baroness. A pretty remark, and very 
aptly made! 

" but love can excuse all things. This evening, 
at nine o'clock, during the ball, I will be con- 
cealed in the woods; everybody here will think 
that I have left, for I will set out from the 
chateau in a carriage before dinner, but only to 
take four steps and alight." 

The Baroness. Four steps! four steps! The 
avenue is long ; would you not think that he had 
only to take a stride? 

"and alight. If during the evening you can 
make your escape, I will wait for you; if not, 
I will blow my brains out." 

The Baroness. Well. 

"my brains out. I do not believe that your 
mother . 

The Baroness. Ah, "that your mother." 
Let us look into that. 

" pays great attention to you. She has the head 
of a girl . . ." 


The Baroness. M. Van Buck, what does that 

Van Buck. I did not hear, madame. 

The Baroness. Read for yourself, and do me 
the favor of telling your nephew to leave my 
house immediately, and never to set foot in it 

Van Buck. This has been changed, that's 
certain; I did not notice this. He read me the 
letter, however, before sealing it. 

The Baroness. He read you this letter, and 
you allowed him to give it to my people! Go! 
you are an old fool, and I will never see you 
again as long as I live. 

(Exit. The sound of a carnage is heard.) 

Van Buck. What is that? My nephew who 
is leaving without me? Eh! how does he think 
that I can get away from here? I have sent 
away my horses. I must overtake him. 
(He runs off.) 

Cecile (alone). This is singular. Why does 
he write to me, when everybody wishes him to 
marry me? 

A WAGER 303 



(A highway. Enter Fan Buck and Valentin, 
who knock at an inn. ) 

Valentin. Hallo! hey! is there anybody here 
that can do an errand for me? 

A Boy (coming out). Yes, sir, if it isn't too 
far; for you see that it is raining very hard. 

Van Buck. I oppose this with all my might, 
and in the name of the laws of the kingdom. 

Valentin. Do you know the Chateau de 
Mantes, near here? 

The Boy. Yes, indeed, sir; we go there every 
day. It is on your left hand; you can see it 
from here. 

Van Buck. My friend, I forbid your going 
there, if you have any notion of right and wrong. 

Valentin. There are two louis for you to 
earn. Here is a letter for Mademoiselle de 
Mantes, which you are to give to the lady's maid, 
and not to anybody else, and in secret. Hurry 
up, and return as soon as possible. 

The Boy. Oh, sir, have no fear. 

Van Buck. Here are four louis, if you re- 

The Boy. My Lord, there isn't any danger. 


Valentin. Here are ten for you; and if you 
do not go I will break my cane over your back! 

The Boy. O my Prince! don't worry! I will 
be back in a jiffy. 

Valentin. Now, uncle, let us get under shel- 
ter; and if you will take my advice, drink a glass 
of beer. That lively walk must have tired you. 

Van Buck. Rest assured, I shall stick close 
to you ! I swear it by the soul of my late brother 
and by the light of the sun. As long as my feet 
are able to carry me, as long as my head is on 
my shoulders, I shall protest against this in- 
famous action and its horrible consequences. 

Valentin. You may be certain, I shall not 
give it up. I swear it by my just anger, and 
by the night which will protect me. As long 
as I have paper and ink, and a louis remains in 
my pocket, I shall pursue, and I shall accom- 
plish my design, let whatever will come of it. 

Van Buck. Have you no longer either fealty 
or shame, and is it possible that you are of my 
blood? What! neither respect for innocence, nor 
the sense of fitness, nor the certainty of making 
me ill, nothing is capable of moving you ! 

Valentin. You have neither pride nor shame, 
and is it possible that you are my uncle? What! 
neither the affront paid to us, nor the manner 
in which we were turned out of the house, nor 
the insults that were thrown in your face noth- 
ing is capable of arousing your anger! / , 

A WAGER 805 

Fan Buck. If you were in love, however! if 
I could believe that so many follies spring from 
a motive which had some human element! But 
no; you are nothing but a Lovelace; your very 
breath is charged with treason, and the most exe- 
crable vengeance is your sole end and aim. 

Valentin. If I were to see you bluster, how- 
ever ! if I could say to myself, that deep down in 
your heart you were consigning this Baroness 
and her dependants to the devil! But no; you 
only dread the rain, you only think of the bad 
weather we are having, and the care of your 
dyed stockings is your sole fear and your sole 

Van Buck. Ah, how right it is to say that the 
first error leads to a precipice ! Who could have 
foretold this morning, when the barber shaved 
me, and I had put on my new suit, that I should 
be in a barn this evening, dirty, and soaked 
through and through ! What ! This is I ! Good 
God! at my age, I must leave my post-chaise 
where we were so comfortably installed; I must 
run after a fool across lots, in the open country ! 
I must trudge at his heels, like an accomplice of 
murder, and the result of all these pains will be 
the dishonor of my name! 

Valentin. On the contrary, it is by retreating 
that we should dishonor ourselves, and not by a 
glorious campaign from which we shall come off 
as victors. Blush, Uncle Van Buck, but let it be 


only from a noble indignation. You give me the 
title of Lovelace : yes, by heavens ! that name fits 
me. Like unto him, a door surmounted with 
proud arms has been shut in my face; like him, 
an odious family thinks to crush me by an af- 
front ; like him, like a hawk, I will lurk and roam 
about the neighborhood, but, like him, I will 
seize my prey, and, like Clarissa, the haughty 
prude, my dearly beloved shall be mine. 

Van Buck. Ah, heavens! would that I were 
at Antwerp, seated before my counter, upon my 
leather chair, and unfolding my taffeta! Would 
that my brother had died a bachelor, instead of 
marrying when he was past forty! Or rather 
that I had died myself, the first day that the 
Baroness de Mantes invited me to dinner. 

Valentin. Only regret the moment when, by 
a fatal weakness, you revealed to that woman the 
secret of our treaty. It is you who have played the 
mischief ; stop abusing me, me who will repair it. 
Do you doubt that that young woman, who hides 
love-letters in her apron pockets so cleverly, 
would have come to the appointed rendezvous? 
Yes, without a doubt she would have come; so 
she will come still more readily this time. Saints 
alive ! I look forward with pleasure to seeing her 
come out of that great weather-beaten barracks 
of brick, in dressing-gown, nightcap, and slip- 
pers! I do not love her; but I will love her, un- 
less vengeance should be stronger, and kill the 

A WAGER 307 

love in my heart. I swear that she shall be my 
mistress, but that she shall never be my wife; 
there is now neither proof, nor promise nor al- 
ternative. I wish that family to forever remem- 
ber the day when I was driven from the house. 

The Landlord (coming out of the inn] . Gen- 
tlemen, it is nearly sundown ; will you do me the 
honor of dining at my inn? 

Valentin. Yes, indeed; bring us the bill of 
fare, and have a fire lighted for us. As soon as 
your boy returns, tell him to give me the reply. 
Come, uncle, a little firmness; come, and order 
the dinner. 

Van Buck. We shall have detestable wine, 
I know the country; it is as sour as vinegar. 

The Landlord. Pardon me: we have cham- 
pagne, chambertin, and everything that you can 

Van Buck. Indeed, in such a hole as this! 
It is impossible; you are imposing upon us. 

The Landlord. It is here that the stage- 
coaches stop, and you will see if we lack any- 

Van Buck. Come, let us try to dine, then. 
I feel that my death is near, and that in a little 
while I shall no longer dine. 



(At the chateau. ] A drawing-room. Enter the 
Baroness and the Abbot.) 

The Baroness. God be praised, my daughter 
is under lock and key! I believe that I shall 
make myself sick over this affair. 

The Abbot. Madame, if I may be permitted 
to give you a word of advice, I should say to 
you that I am very much afraid. In crossing 
the court, I thought I saw a man in blouse, and 
rather evil-looking, who had a letter in his hand. 

The Baroness. She is a prisoner; there is 
nothing to fear. Help me a little about this 
ball, I haven't the strength to bother with it. 

The Abbot. Under such serious circum- 
stances, could you not put off your plans? 

The Baroness. Are you crazy? You would 
see that I should have all of the Faubourg Saint- 
Germain of Paris coming here, only to thank 
them and turn them out at the door! Reflect 
upon what you are saying! 

The Abbot. I thought that on such an oc- 
casion, you would have been able, without offend- 
ing anybody . 

The Baroness. Meanwhile, I have not a light ! 
Kindly see where Dupre is. 

A WAGER 309 

The Abbot. I think that he is occupied with 
the sirups. 

The Baroness. You are right: those misera- 
ble sirups, they're enough to kill a body too. I 
wrote, myself, a week ago, and they only arrived 
an hour ago. How can a body put up with that ! 

The Abbot. I have not a doubt, madame, 
that that man in the blouse is some emissary. 
It seemed to me, as well as I can remember, 
that one of your maids was chatting with him. 
That young man of yesterday is a wrong-headed 
fellow, and you must remember that the rather 
harsh manner in which you rid yourself of 
him . 

The Baroness. Bah! those Van Bucks? those 
linen-drapers? What difference do you think 
that makes? If they should complain, who 
would listen to them? I must have the furniture 
taken out of the little drawing-room. I shall 
never have enough chairs to seat my guests. 

The Abbot. Is it in her chamber, madame, 
that your daughter is locked up? 

The Baroness. Ten and ten make twenty; 
there are four of the Rainebaults; twenty, thirty. 
What are you saying, Abbot? 

The Abbot. I am asking if it is in her beauti- 
ful yellow chamber that Mademoiselle Cecile is 
locked, madame? 

The Baroness. No; it is there, in the library; 
that's still better. I have her under my super- 


vision. I do not know what she is doing, or if her 
maid is dressing her, and I am getting a sick 

The Abbot. Do you wish me to speak to her? 

The Baroness. I tell you she is locked up. 
What is done, is done; we are helpless in the 

The Abbot. I think that it was her maid who 
was talking with that loggerhead. Please be- 
lieve me, I beg of you; there's a question there 
of some snake in the grass, which it is important 
not to neglect. 

The Baroness. I really must go to the pan- 
try; this is the last time that I shall receive here. 

The Abbot. It seems to me that I hear a 
noise in that next room. I wonder if it is that 
young girl? Alas! this is inconsiderate. 

Cecile (within). Will you please open the 
door for me, sir? 

The Abbot. I can not, mademoiselle, without 
previous authorization. 

Cecile. The key is under the cushion of the 
small sofa; you have only to take it and unlock 
the door. 

The Abbot (taking the key). You are cor- 
rect, mademoiselle, the key is really there; but 
I can not make any use of it whatever, quite 
contrary to my will. 

Cecile. O heavens! I am fainting away! 


The Abbot. Good gracious! recover your 
spirits. I will go and fetch Madame the Bar- 
oness. Is it possible that a fatal malady has 
seized you so suddenly? For Heaven's sake, 
mademoiselle, answer me how are you feeling 

Cecile. I am fainting! I am fainting! 

The Abbot. I can not let such a charming 
young lady die like this. Faith! I will take it 
upon myself to open the door, she can say what 
she likes about it. 

(He opens the door.) 

Cecile. Faith, Abbot, I will take it upon my- 
self to be off ; you can say what you like about it. 
(Exit, running.) 


(A small wood-land. Enter Fan Buck and 

Valentin. The moon is rising and the storm 
is over. See these pearls upon the leaves: how 
this light breeze makes them fall! The sand 
scarcely retains the imprint of our footsteps ; the 
dry gravel has already absorbed the rain. 

Van Buck. For a chance inn, the dinner was 
not so bad. I had need of that to warm myself: 
I am as good as new again. Well, my boy, are 
we there? 


Valentin. This is the end of our walk, but if 
you will take my advice, now you will go as far 
as that farmhouse, the lights of which we see 
shining over there. You will sit down before 
the fire, and order us a great bowl of hot punch, 
with sugar and nutmeg. 

Fan Buck. Are you not waiting too long? 
How long are you going to stay here? Think 
at least of your promises, and of being ready at 
the same time as the horses. 

Valentin. I swear to you that I will under- 
take neither more nor less than what was agreed 
upon between us. You see, uncle, how I yield 
to you, and how I obey your will in everything. 
In fact, dinner is a good counselor, and I truly 
feel that anger is sometimes a false friend. 
Capitulation on both sides. Grant me a quarter 
of an hour of love-making, and I will renounce 
all vengeance whatsoever. The darling will re- 
turn to her home, we to Paris, and that will be 
the end of it. As for the detestable Baroness, 
I will pardon her by forgetting her. 

Van Buck. That's capital; and have no fear 
that you will lack for women because of that. 
It sha'n't be said that an old fool wrongs honest 
men, who have amassed a considerable fortune, 
and who are not so badly turned out. Heavens! 
how beautiful the moonlight is! This takes me 
back to my youth. 

Valentin. This love-note which I have re- 

A WAGER 313 

ceived is not so foolish, do you know? That 
young lady has some wit, and even something 
better ; there is soul in these three lines ; something 
I know not what, of tenderness and boldness, of 
the maidenly and courageous at the same time; 
the rendezvous that she assigns me is, however, 
like her note. Look at this thicket, that sky, 
this spot of verdure in such a wild region. Ah, 
how the heart masters us! One invents nothing 
that it finds, and it is it alone that chooses every- 

Van Buck. I remember that being one time 
at the Hague I had an adventure of this kind. 
My faith, she was a tall, well-built girl, above 
the average height, and a most fascinating crea- 
ture. What Venuses those Flemish girls were! 
You do not know what a woman is nowadays ; all 
your Parisian beauties are half flesh and blood 
and half cotton. 

Valentin. It seems to me that I see lights 
moving there in the forest. What can be the 
meaning of that? Are they ferreting us out at 
this time of night? 

Van Buck. They are doubtless preparing for 
the ball; there is a merry-making at the chateau 
this evening. 

Valentin. Let us separate for greater safety; 
we will meet at the farmhouse in half an hour. 

Van Buck. Enough said. Good luck, my 
boy; you shall tell me all about your scrape, and 


we will make some song about it; that used to 
be our custom; there was no prank that had not 
some couplet made about it. 
(He sings.) 

Eh, truly yes, mademoiselle, 
Eh, truly yes, I've love to tell. 

(Ecrit Valentin. Men carrying torches are 
seen roaming around the forest. Enter 
the Baroness and the Abbot.) 
The Baroness. It is as clear as daylight, she 
is mad. She was seized with a giddiness. 

The Abbot. She screamed to me, " I am 
fainting! " you can imagine my situation. 
Van Buck (singing). 

It is still very true, 
My charming Collette, 
It is still very true, 
He'll bring for your fete, 
Your Colin so gay, 
A charming bouquet. 

The Baroness. And just at that very mo- 
ment I saw a carriage coming. I had only time 
to call Dupre. Dupre was nowhere to be found. 
The carriage stopped at the door, the occupants 
alighted. They were the Marquise de Valan- 
goujar and the Baron de Vlllefouzan. 

The Abbot. When I heard that first scream, 
I hesitated; but what could I do? I imagined 

A WAGER 315 

her there unconscious, stretched upon the floor; 
I had the key in my hand. 
Van Buck (singing). 

When he gives it to you, 
My charming brunette, 
When he gives it to you, 
Sweet little Collette, 
They say that you'll have 
A sweet shiver of love. 

The Baroness. Could any one conceive such 
a thing, pray tell my daughter running away 
across the fields, and thirty carriages arriving at 
the same time? I shall never survive such a 

The Abbot. If I had had the time, however, 
perhaps I should have detained her by her shawl 
. . . or at least ... by my prayers and 
entreaties, by appropriate advice. 

Van Buck. 

Oh, say, what a present 
For shepherdess sweet, 
Oh, say, what a present 
He'll lay at her feet, 
For constant and true 
Must love be to you. 

The Baroness. Is that you, Van Buck? Ah, 
my dear friend, we are undone. What does this 
mean? My daughter is mad; she is wandering 
about the fields! Can you imagine such a thing? 
I have forty guests at home; and here am I afoot, 


at such a time as this. Have you seen anything 
of her in the forest? She ran away; it is like 
a dream; her hair was dressed and powdered on 
one side, her maid told me. She had nothing 
but white satin slippers on her feet ; she upset the 
Abbot, who was there, and sprang over his body. 
This will kill me! My people can not find her; 
and it goes without saying, I must return to the 
chateau. I suppose it is not your nephew, per- 
chance who has played us such a trick? I was 
sharp with you; let us say no more about it. 
Here, help me, and let us be friends again. You 
are my old friend, are you not? I am a mother, 
Van Buck. Ah, cruel fate! cruel chance! 
(She begins to weep.) 

Van Buck. Is it possible, madame, you, 
alone, and on foot! you seeking for your daugh- 
ter! Good heavens! you are weeping! Ah, how 
sorry I am! 

The Abbot. Do you know anything about 
it, sir? If you can throw any light upon the 
subject, pray do so. 

Van Buck. Come, Baroness, take my arm, 
and God grant that we may find them! I will 
tell you everything; have no fear. My nephew 
is an honorable man, and all will yet be well. 

The Baroness. Good gracious! was it a ren- 
dezvous? Did you ever see such a little wretch! 
What can one trust to in future? 

A WAGER 317 

(A glade in the forest. Cecile and Valentin.) 

Valentin. Who is there? Is that you, 

Cecile. It is I. What is the meaning ,of 
these lights and torches in the forest? 

Valentin. I do not know; what does it mat- 
ter? They are not for us. 

Cecile. Come over here, where the moon 
shines here, where you see this rock. 

Valentin. No, come here, where it is dark; 
here, under the shadow of these birches. It is 
possible that they are looking for you, and we 
must avoid all eyes. 

Cecile. I can not see your face. Come, Val- 
entin, obey me. 

Valentin. Where you like, charming girl; 
wherever you go, I will follow. Do not take 
that trembling hand away from me; let my lips 
reassure it. 

Cecile. I could not come any sooner. Have 
you been waiting for me long? 

Valentin. Ever since moonrise; look at this 
letter wet with tears; it is the note which you 
wrote me. 

Cecile. Story-teller! It is the wind and rain 
that has wept over this paper. 


Valentin. No, my Cecile, it is joy and love, 
it is happiness and desire. What makes you so 
uneasy? Why these fixed regards? What are 
you looking for around you? 

Cecile. This is singular! I do not know my- 
self. Where is your uncle? I expected to see 
him here. 

Valentin. My uncle is drunk upon chamber- 
tin; your mother is far away, and all is quiet. 
This place is the one which you chose, and which 
your letter indicated to me. 

Cecile. Your uncle is drunk? Why did he 
hide himself in the beech-woods this morning? 

Valentin. This morning? Where? What 
do you mean? I was walking by myself in the 

Cecile. This morning, when I was talking to 
you, your uncle was behind a tree. Did you 
not know it? I saw him as I turned into the 

Valentin. You must be mistaken; I did not 
notice anything. 

Cecile. Oh, I saw him plainly; he was thrust- 
ing aside the branches; perhaps it was to watch 

Valentin. What madness! you must have 
been dreaming. Let us say no more about it. 
Give me a kiss. 

Cecile. Yes, my dear, and with all my heart; 
sit dowB ]a*M:e beside me. In., your letter o- f yes- 

A WAGER 819 

terday, why did you say naughty things about 
my mother? 

Valentin. Forgive me; it was in a moment 
of delirium, and I was not master of myself. 

Cecile. She demanded that letter of me, and 
I did not dare give it to her; I knew what would 
happen. But who could have told her? She 
could not have guessed it, however; the letter 
was in my pocket. 

Valentin. Poor child! you have been abused. 
It must have been your maid who betrayed you. 
Whom could a body trust in such a case? 

Cecile. O no! my maid is trustworthy; it is 
only necessary to give her a little money. But 
in lacking respect for my mother, you ought to 
have known that you were lacking in respect 
for me. 

Valentin. Let us drop the subject, since you 
forgive me. Do not let us spoil such a precious 
moment. Oh, my Cecile, how beautiful you are, 
and what happiness reposes in you! By what 
pledges, by what treasures, can I repay your 
sweet caresses! All, life is all too short for it. 
Come to my heart, that yours may feel its beat- 
ing, and that we may be in a heaven of bliss! 

Cecile. Yes, Valentin, my heart is sincere. 
Feel my hair, how soft it is; I have orris upon 
this side, but I did not take the time to put it 
on the other. But why did you conceal your 
name, to come to our house? 


Valentin. I can not say: it was a caprice, a 
wager that I had made. 

Cecile. A wager! With whom? 

Valentin. I do not remember. What do 
these foolish things matter? 

Cecile. With your uncle, perhaps ; was it not ? 

Valentin. Yes. I was in love with you, and 
I wished to know you, and that nobody should 
come between us. 

Cecile. You were right. In your place, I 
should have wished to do as you did. 

Valentin. Why are you so curious, and what 
is the use of all these questions? Do you not 
love me, my beautiful Cecile? Answer me 
"yes," and let all be forgotten. 

Cecile. Yes, dear, Cecile loves you, and she 
wishes she were more worthy of being loved; 
but it is enough that she is so by you. Put 
your two hands in mine. Why did you refuse, 
when I invited you to dinner, this morning? 

Valentin. I wanted to leave; I had an en- 
gagement for this evening. 

Cecile. Not a very important engagement, 
nor very far away, it seems to me; for you 
alighted at the end of the avenue. 

Valentin. How do you know that? Did you 
see me? 

Cecile. Oh, I was watching. Why did you 
tell me that you did not dance the mazurka? 
I saw you dance it last winter. 


Agerl With v 
: do not remember 
^s matter? 
your uncle, perhaps; 
Yes. I was in love wit; 
ou, and that nobo 

. In your ] 
you did. 

' ' Put your two hands in mine " 


^s, dear, Cecile loves 
.iiw were more worthy of bei 

ugh that she is so by you. 
; lands in mine. Why did y< 
i to dinner, this n; 
led to leave; I h, 

important en 
it seems to me; 
ie end of the avenue. 
How do you kno 

1 was watching, 
tell me t L did not dan^ 

I sa\% 

A WAGER 821 

Valentin. Where, pray tell? I have no rec- 
ollection of it. 

Cecile. At Madame de Gesvres' masquerade 
ball. How is it that you do not remember it? 
You said in your letter yesterday that you saw 
me last winter; it was there. 

Valentin. You are right ; I remember it now. 
Look how pure this night is! How this wind 
stirs upon your shoulders this avaricious gauze 
which surrounds them! Listen: it is the voice 
of night, it is the song of the bird which in- 
vites to happiness. Behind this high rock, no 
look will be able to discover us. Everything 
sleeps, except that which loves. Let my hand 
thrust aside this veil, and my two arms re- 
place it. 

Cecile. Yes, my love. May I ever seem 
beautiful to you! But do not take your hand 
away from me; I feel that my heart is in mine, 
and that it goes to yours that way. Why did 
you wish to leave, and pretend that you were 
going to Paris? 

Valentin. I had to; it was on account of my 
uncle. Moreover, could I dare hope that you 
would come to this rendezvous? Oh, how I 
trembled in writing that letter, and how I suf- 
fered in waiting for you! 

Cecile. Why should I not have come, since I 
know that you are going to marry me ? ( Valentin 
arises and takes a few steps.) What's the mat- 


ter with you? What is troubling you? Come 
and sit down beside me again. 

Valentin. It is nothing. I thought I 
thought I heard I thought I saw somebody on 
that side. 

C6cile. We are all alone: have no fear. 
Come. Must I get up? Have I said anything 
which has wounded you? Your face is no longer 
the same. Is it because I kept my shawl on, 
although you wished me to take it off? It was 
because it is cold; I am in a ball dress. Just 
look at my satin slippers! What will that poor 
Henriette think? But what's the matter with 
you? You don't answer me ; you are out of sorts. 
What could I have said? It is my fault, I see. 

Valentin. No, I swear to you, you are mis- 
taken; it is an involuntary thought which has 
crossed my mind. 

Cecile. Your voice was not so cold a while 
ago. What is this naughty thought which has 
struck you so suddenly? Have I displeased 
you? I should be very sorry. I can not remem- 
ber that I said anything very bad, however. 
But if you prefer to walk, I don't wish to remain 
seated. (She arises). Give me your arm, and 
let us walk. Do you know, I sent a cup of bouil- 
lon to your chamber this morning, which Henri- 
ette had made. When I met you I told you of 
it; I thought you did not wish to take it, and 
that is displeased you. I walked up and down 

A WAGER 828 

the walk three times; did you see me? Then 
you went in, and I went and placed myself in 
the flower garden, and I saw you through your 
window; you were holding the cup in both hands, 
and you drank it all at a single draught. Is not 
that so? Did you find it good? 

Valentin. Yes, dear child, the best in the 
world good, like your heart and like yourself. 

Cecile. Ah, when we are husband and wife, 
I will care for you better than that. But, tell 
me, what do you mean by going and throwing 
yourself into a ditch, at the risk of killing your- 
self, and why did you do it? You knew that 
you would be welcomed at our house. That you 
should wish to arrive alone, I can comprehend; 
but what was the use of the rest of it? Are 
you fond of romances? 

Valentin. Sometimes. Come and sit down 

(They seat themselves again.) 

Cecile. I confess to you that I do not care 
for them ; those which I have read mean nothing. 
It seems to me that they are nothing but lies, 
and that everything in them is but an idle story. 
The people in them only talk of seductions, of 
deceptions, of intrigues, of a thousand impossible 
things. The descriptive passages alone please 
me. I like the landscape, but not the imaginative 
pictures. Here, this evening, for example, when 
I received your letter and saw that a rendezvous 


in the forest was in question, it is true that I 
yielded to a somewhat romantic desire to come 
here ; but I also saw in it a little of reality to my 
advantage. If my mother were to know it and 
she will know it you understand that she will 
insist upon our getting married. Whether your 
uncle is at loggerheads with her or not, she will 
have to be reconciled. I was ashamed to be 
locked up and, in fact, why was I ? The Abbot 
came; I pretended to be dying; he opened the 
door, and I made my escape; that was my ruse. 
I give it to you for what it is worth. 

Valentin (aside) . Am I a rat taken in a trap, 
or a crazy man who is being restored to reason? 

Cecile. Well, you do not answer me. Is this 
sadness going to last forever? 

Valentin. You seem to me very wise for your 
years, and at the same time as giddy-headed as 
I, who am as much so as a morning bell. 

Cecile. As for being giddy-headed, I must 
acknowledge it on the spot; but, my dear, it is 
because I love you. Shall I tell you this? I 
knew that you were in love with me, and it is not 
only from yesterday that I suspected it. I saw 
you only three times at this ball ; but I am not a 
fool, and I remember all about it. You were 
waltzing with Mademoiselle de Gesvres, and, in 
passing through the door, her Italian comb struck 
against the panel, and her hair fell completely 
down. Do you remember it now? Wretch! the 

A WAGER 325 

first word of your letter said that you remem- 
bered it. And how my heart did beat! You see, 
that is what proves that one is in love, and it is 
because of that that I am here. 

Valentin (aside). Either I am in the hands 
of the most artful demon that hell ever let loose, 
or the voice that is speaking to me is that of 
an angel, and it is opening to me the gates of 

Cecile. As for being wise, that's quite another 
matter; but I will reply, since you say nothing. 
Look there! do you know what that is? 

Valentin. What ? that star to the right of that 

Cecile. No ; the one which is scarcely visible, 
and which shines like a tear? 

Valentin. You have read Madame de Stael. 

Cecile. Yes, and this word, tear, pleases me, 
like the stars, I know not why. A beautiful clear 
sky makes me long to weep. 

Valentin. And me to love you, to tell you so, 
and to live only for you. Cecile, do you know to 
whom you are speaking, and what kind of a man 
it is who dares to embrace you? 

Cecile. Tell me the name of my star. You 
do not get o.T as cheaply as that. 

Valentin. Very well, it is Venus, the star of 
love, the most beautiful pearl in the ocean of 

Cecile, Not at all ; it is one more chaste, and 


far worthier of respect; you will learn to love it 
some day, when you are living upon the estate 
and have the poor about you: admire it, and 
do not smile; it is Ceres, the goddess of agri- 

Valentin. Loving child ! I know your tender 
heart. You administer to the poor, do you not? 

Cecile. My mother taught me to ; there is not 
a better woman in the world. 

Valentin. Indeed? I would not have believed 

Cecile. Ah, my love, neither you nor many 
more you do not even suspect her worth. A 
person who has seen my mother for a quarter of 
an hour imagines that he can judge her by a few 
random words. She spends the day in playing 
cards, and the evening in embroidery ; she would 
not leave her piquet for a prince ; but let Dupre 
come and whisper to her, you will see her arise 
from the table, if it is some beggar who is wait- 
ing. Many and many a time have we gone to- 
gether, dressed in silk as I am now, to follow the 
footpaths of the valley, carrying soup and broths, 
and slippers and linen, to the poor people ! Many 
and many a time at the church have I seen the 
eyes of the unfortunate fill with tears, when my 
mother looked at them. Well, she has a right to 
be proud, and I to be so of her sometimes. 

Valentin. You are looking steadily at your 
celestial star ; and I also, but in your blue eyes. 

A WAGER 327 

Cecile. What a glorious sky ! What a happy 
world! How calm and bounteous nature is! 

Valentin. Will you allow me also to set up 
for a scientist and talk astronomy to you? Tell 
me, in that myriad of worlds, is there one among 
them that does not know its way, which has not 
received its mission with its life, or can die be- 
fore accomplishing it? Why does not this vast 
universe stand still? Tell me if there ever was a 
moment when all things were created, by virtue 
of what force did they begin to move, these 
worlds which will never stay their course? 

Cecile. By the everlasting thought. 

Valentin. By the everlasting love. The hand 
which suspends them in space has written only 
one word in letters of fire. They live because 
they seek each other, and the suns would crum- 
ble to dust if one among them were to cease 

Cecile. Ah, the whole of life is in that! 

Valentin. Yes, the whole of life from the 
ocean which arises beneath the pale kisses of 
Diana, to the scarabseus which sleeps jealously in 
its cherished flower. Ask of the forests and the 
rocks what they would say if they could speak. 
They have love in their hearts and can not ex- 
press it. I love you! that is what I know, my 
love; that is what this flower will tell you, which 
selects from the bosom of the earth the substances 
which nourish it; which shuns and rejects the im- 


pure elements which would rob it of its fresh- 
ness ! It knows that is must be beautiful at dawn, 
and that it will die in its wedding robe ere many 
suns pass over it. I know less about astronomy 
than it does. Give me your hand; you know 
more than the flower about love. 

Cecile. I hope, at least, that my wedding 
gown will not be mortally beautiful. It seems 
to me that somebody is prowling around us. 

Valentin. No, everything is silent. Are you 
afraid? Did you come here without being afraid? 

Cecile. Why? Of what should I be afraid? 
Of you, or of the night? 

Valentin. Why not of me? What reassures 
you ? I am young, you are beautiful, and we are 

Cecile. Well, what harm is there in that? 

Valentin. That's true, there is not any harm 
in it; listen to me, and let me kneel before you. 

Cecile. What is the matter with you? You 
are trembling. 

Valentin. I am trembling with fear and with 
joy, for I am about to open the secrets of my 
heart to you. I am a fool of the worst sort, 
although you need not shrug your shoulders at 
what I am about to confess. I have done noth- 
ing but gamble, drink and smoke since I cut my 
wisdom teeth. You have said that romances 
shock you ; I have read many of them, and of the 
worst sort. There is one called " Clarissa Har- 

A WAGER 820 

lowe "; I will give it to you to read when you are 
my wife. The hero is in love with a beautiful 
girl like you, my dear, and he wishes to marry 
her, but first he wishes to prove her. He carries 
her off by force and takes her to London; after 
that, as she is resisting, Bedfort arrives . . . 
I mean Tomlinson, a captain ... I mean 
Morden . . . no, I am mistaken . . . Any- 
way, to cut a long story short . . . Lovelace 
is a fool, and I also, to have wished to follow his 
example . . . God be praised! You did not 
understand me ... I love you, I wish to 
marry you: there is nothing truer in the world 
than to talk wildly of love. (Enter Van Buck, 
the Baroness, the Abbot } and several domestics 
lighting the way.) 

The Baroness. I do not believe a word of 
what you say. He is too young for such a deep- 
dyed villain. 

Van Buck. Alas! madame, it is the truth. 

The Baroness. Seduce my daughter! deceive 
a child! dishonor a whole family! Nonsense! I 
tell you it is a silly thing; people do not do those 
things any more. Here they are now, kissing 
each other. Good evening, son-in-law; where in 
the name of Heaven have you been hiding your- 

The Abbot. It is too bad that our search 
should be crowned by such a tardy success; all the 
company will have left. 


Van Buck. Well, now! nephew, I do hope 
that with your foolish wager . . . 

Valentin. You must not be sure of anything, 
uncle, and still less set any one at naught. 

(End of Prudence Spurns a Wager,) 

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